Monday, March 26, 2007

Tributize and grieving both my grandma and my VW Cabriolet

I am grieving my grandma and VW cabriolet because I now have my grandma's car. And I loved my car. It's a convertible and soooo cute. But no longer. I have to let it go. It wasn't running super great anyway. I might be transferring my sadness for my grandma to my car. Who knows with these things. So now have no grandma but I have her car, a car with cup holders and electronic windows and locks.

Here's what I said at the funeral. I was the one who gave the tribute for my entire family. And afterwards everyone gushed over me. Which I thought was odd since I don't think this is that amazing. Perhaps people are used to hearing tributes that are just fluff. "So-so-and-so was great"...

One metaphor I like for death is to understand it as a frame for life. A frame that boundaries life. This metaphor allows us to pause and look at someone's life and reflect. Today we intentionally stare at the art that was Marge. To notice the passage of time and life with mindfulness. Seeing what brush strokes and colors were used. Noting what the painting represents. And ultimately praising God who created it.

There is no way to speak a person's life or to sum them up. And if 100,000,000 people met Marge each would know and experience her a bit differently. Just as with good art we only see a part of the intention of the artist. Due to this fact yesterday during the viewing I asked a few of you "What three words would you use to describe my grandma". I was curious about your perspectives. I wondered what brush strokes and colors caught your attention and moved you.

I heard she was faithful from almost everyone. Faithful to God, faithful in marriage, family, church and music. It stuns me to think she volunteered for the same church for 60+ years playing the organ, teaching Sunday school, welcoming new people. People named the word musical of course. How could you not. Music was one of the strongest aspects of her personality. I remember always needing to be early to church so we could hear the prelude. Every time I was at her house someone was playing the piano.

People said she was precise and meticulous. This showed up as she practiced piano and worked to accompany. As she taught lessons. This was even shown in the fact that her pencils on her piano were always perfectly sharp. She was even precise in her sending of cards. She sent my brother and I birthday, Christmas, Halloween, valentines day cards and they were always early.

She was persevering and I might almost say tenacious. I think this showed up when she took care of grandpa, and especially in the last year when she was ill and kept persevering. It showed up as she persevered to contribute and pour herself into this church.

She was stately. This was shown in her appearance never having one hair out of place, her nails were always done. I remember wondering why she needed to change so many times. She always wanted to dress up for things which is both a value of her generation but also is a value of her being a distinguished woman. She cared about excellence and doing things right.

She was both warm AND sober. I remember her perfectly self-manicured hands holding mine when I was young. I remember her warmth through cookies and milk or lemon meringe pie when we would visit. She was warm in adopting grandchildren in this church and in her hugs she gave to all of you. I also remember her soberness. One example of this was when I bit my brother while riding to grandma and grandpa's house. I have sometimes wondered if her combined attributes of soberness and precision would have made her a good ceo.

Grandma was all these things and so much more. She was complex and a mystery like all people are. Her painting would never be considered abstract. She was much too precise for that. But it would have to be a complex painting. Containing both light and dark colors and defiantly that fucia pink color. It would represent all the aspects that all of our three words represent. From her often role as a matriarch who loved Jesus to her humanity and anxiety in the face of wasn't always just right in the world.

Ultimately Marge's painting represents strokes of each of your brushes. And your lives paintings include paint strokes that she contributed. Which brings me to the final word I heard, treasure. Marge's life is one that we are taking a moment to frame today because it was a treasure that now belongs to God. To God be the glory, AMEN.

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