Sunday, February 3, 2013

My Wife's Best Friend

Reflections on the Readings
Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time - February 3, 2013 Year C
The Year of Faith 

My Wife's Best Friend

So faith, hope, love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

The call came this past Monday evening. Cindy had been moved to a comfort room in the nursing home. Vibrant, busy, involved with life and loving others describes Cindy. Now she was nearing the end. A massive stroke had struck her down 27 months ago. Marvin explained to my wife on the phone that they had run out of options.

Debbie and Cindy met in 5th grade at Merriam Grade School.  It was a country school outside Fairfield, IL, and still had two grade levels meeting in the same classroom.  Debbie and her family had moved from town out into the country into a new home built by Debbie's Dad and Grandpa. Moving from the community grade school in town Debbie discovered she was behind. The country kids were smarter and the lessons were more demanding. But Debbie was up for the challenge and her new friend Cindy lived in walking distance on the same road where Debbie lived.  

After 8th grade graduation, Debbie and Cindy continued their education at Fairfield High School. Now the country girls were back in town. Their days at Merriam had prepared them for High School. They studied Latin and Algebra together and were some of the best students in High School. Those country girls had come back and were ready to show those 'city' girls a thing or two about Math, and English, and Latin.

For a wedding gift, Cindy crocheted for Debbie twelve very fancy and beautiful pot holders.  They are so beautiful in fact that they have remained in Debbie's hope chest. Debbie told me she thought she would get them out soon. Through the years Cindy continued crocheting afghans and blankets and potholders for family and friends. Marvin told Debbie that every one in their church probably has something Cindy crocheted.

This past Wednesday night Marvin called to let Debbie know that Cindy had entered into her eternal rest. In many ways, the Cindy he knew, the Cindy we all knew, had been taken away from us 27 months ago. Her husband of almost 19 years lost her.  The Veterinary clinic where she loved God's creatures great and small lost her. In the end, her tired and worn out body lost its battle that began many months ago. It would all seem very bleak until we remember the relationships we make and the things we do in the great Spirit of Love endure. Around the church were the many friends and family she had embraced in her big heart. And truly a modern day Dorcas, around the church were the beautiful examples of Cindy's talents. Even on her casket lay an unfinished afghan. (See Acts 9:36-39)

When we came into Little Prairie Christian Church it was so obvious. The air was thick with it. The indestructible power of love was in that Church Friday morning. And the good Pastor spoke of it and described it and helped us to see it - the hope, the faith and the love of Cindy Goldman. Every day for 27 months Marvin was at her bedside. The Pastor spoke of the commitment and faithfulness of Cindy's husband. He reminded us of the faith and commitment of Cindy. He spoke of her love for Christ and for her family and for her friends. He reminded us that no one ever left Cindy's presence without a hug. And somehow it seemed that the bright spot in the room glowed from that person we were saying good bye to. The life and love and laughter and hope and faith of Cindy Goldman had brought us all together. 

In her brief 55 years Cindy had learned and lived the power of love. And somehow in the end she managed to give us a hug before she left us - in the things she had made and given away. In the care and concern she poured into everything and everyone. But most especially in the way she lived and loved. Most importantly in her love for Christ and for her husband and for all of us.  

Eternal rest, grant unto her, O Lord, 
and let perpetual light shine upon her. 
May the souls of the faithful departed 
through the mercy of God rest in peace. 

Dennis Hankins is a parishioner at Sacred Heart of Jesus Cathedral, of the Diocese of Knoxville, TN.  Prior to his uniting with the Catholic Church at the Easter Vigil 2006, Dennis served as a priest in the Charismatic Episcopal Church. You can email him at   His website is: 

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