“If a thing's worth doing it's worth doing badly.” ~~G.K. Chesterton
Today they buried my friends, Rose and Dave. In spite of how violently they died, how much publicity the crime has received, and how packed the church was, it was a solemn, beautiful Mass of Christian burial followed by full military honors for Dave who retired from the Air Force after 24 years. The Freedom Riders turned out in large numbers to line the street with flags and stand at attention for the salute and playing of Taps.
The weather also cooperated. It’s a perfect spring day here in Oklahoma—the sun’s shining, there’s a crisp breeze and yet it’s still not too hot.
So why the quote?
The funeral was lovely, a fitting tribute to my unforgettable friend, Rose and her devoted husband—all anyone could have asked for and more.
This morning as I was getting ready to go, I felt so strangely at peace, more so than I’ve been since I first heard the awful news. I knew without a doubt I was supposed to be a Communion minister today. I’ve never been a Communion minister at a funeral before; very often they don’t need extraordinary ministers, especially not when you have two priests and a deacon presiding as was the case today. When one is required, usually it’s the Mass Coordinator. But somehow, it just seemed right. Rose was the one who told me I could bring Holy Communion to the homebound years ago when I couldn’t fathom such an honor.
“But what if I mess it up?” I think I probably asked her back then.
“How will they know?!” She probably answered. I can just imagine her thinking, “Silly rabbit! Stop worrying and just bring them Communion! These sick people need your help. Perfectionists! Yeesh!”
She gave me a pyx, a book of prayers, a bunch of holy cards and sent me on my way. I was hung up on doing things “right”. Rose didn’t worry about that so much. Oh sure she tried to follow the big rules so far as they went. But she was more about visiting the person, seeing that each sick friend—and anyone in a hospital bed was her friend, whether she knew them or not—had Communion if they were Catholic, and magazines, candy, fast food or whatever else she could smuggle into the hospital, if they weren't.
Today I was the only lay extraordinary minister at my friend’s funeral. This morning, I told her that if it was God's Will, I'd really like to do it. I guess it was. Anyway, like so many other things I know I’ve done, it was worth doing—however I did it—because it wasn’t about me. None of it is about us, which is why it doesn’t matter so much how well we do it, but the love we put into it. Rose—and God—know how much her gifts meant to me over the years. Oh sweet Lord, let me be a ‘Rose’ for others.
And now she gave me another gift by helping me discover the courage to do something else I’ve never done. Thank you dear friend. One of the most beautiful things about getting older and losing dear ones is that it makes your own death less scary. Each time I can count one more soul ‘over there’ to welcome me when it’s my turn. Not such a bad thing when you think about it.
Thank you God for letting me be Catholic. Help me keep on ‘doing it’...however badly.