28 December, 2011

Prayers and Chicken Salad...

I flipped on the light over the kitchen sink in the predawn darkness and poured myself a cup of coffee. Retrieving the chicken from the refrigerator that I had cooked before I went to bed, I began chopping it up for salad. There was a funeral today and I was asked to bring a platter of sandwiches for the reception after the service. As I prepared sandwiches I prayed for his family and thought about our beloved Pastor T. He moved here in 1993, after he was retired, and became our Volunteer Pastor of Visitation. He was always cheerful and spry; and oh, how he loved to visit... he loved people, and they loved him! When my father-in-law died almost nine years ago he was the first one to the house to be with Mom, he was the face of Christ to her in those hours. He visited me after my surgery in May, 2005; he stood at the window of the hospital room and pointed out all the landmarks and gave me an impromptu history/geography lesson that morning. He died in the early morning hours of December 23, in his sleep. I learned today that it's precisely what he'd hoped for, what a blessing for him! I cut the crusts from the bread and layered the little sandwiches onto a platter. I prayed for peace and comfort for his immediate and extended family. I prayed too for my dear friend who instructed me in the fine art of finger-sandwich preparation for funeral receptions. She doesn't get out much anymore, the food-preparing torch has been passed from her generation, now, to mine. She told me, one day, which bread to buy and how it needed to be frozen so that the bread could be de-crusted and cut just so without falling apart. I did it exactly as she had taught me. (This isn't my platter pictured; it came from Google images.) I gathered up all the bread trimmings, cubed them, and tossed them with a little butter and seasoned salt and baked them in a slow oven; et voila, croutons! (She never told me to do that, I thought it up on my own, but I believe she'd think it's a clever idea.) The funeral was one of the most beautiful I have ever attended, the Chrismon trees were still in the chancel and poinsettias lined the steps. The aisle candles were lit as well as the Advent wreath and Christ candle. What a glorious time of year to be called Home, thanks be to God! I came back to our house today filled with mixed emotions, both sad (for the earthly loss) and happy (for Heaven's gain) at the same time. What a day, one that began (and most likely will conclude!) with prayers and chicken salad (I had a LOT left over...).
Life is Good!


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10 comments:

Mary Lou Casada said...

Beautiful, Mrs. G! Comfort words, comfort food. It is such a blessing to have such a pastor/ friend as you describe; such a blessing to call you friend as well!! Life IS good!
Blessings!!
Mary Lou

Janet O. said...

What a thoughtful post. I, too, end up helping with the family meals after funerals for our congregation. I count it a blessing to be able to do this one last thing for the passing friend in providing a meal for their friends and family who have gathered to say good-bye. Definitely a time of reflection and gratitude to God for the blessing of associations in this life and continuing of those relationships afterward.

Helen said...

You are a kind and thoughtful person. I wish I knew you in person.

Have a blessed new year.

Salem Stitcher said...

Beautifully said.

Becky G said...

O... Sad news. In my mind, he always had the face of Santa Claus... not the one who checks if you've been naughty or nice, but the one who kindly and gently draws you up cradling you in his safe lap and attends to your every word, all the while smiling with great warmth.
He was a dear one. I share your mixed feelings: sad for our loss, joyful for Heaven's gain.
Peace be with him, his family (both immediate and Augsburg)and with you. Thanks for the gentle, sweet post. B

Ancestor Collector said...

Beautiful post, my friend. You were blessed to have this pastor in your life, and you are such a blessing to so many others. When I prepare sandwiches for the funeral luncheons at our church, I will remember this post. Perhaps my little sandwiches will be prepared with a little more finesse too. :-)

julieQ said...

You know, those sandwiches carry much more than nutrition...they are also full of love. What a sweet post about a sweet man!

Nane said...

Being called home in your sleep is a blessing we all might hope for. I am now asked to help like this for our church so I may need to learn the sandwich secrets. Hope you are having a good week Mrs G

Bonnie K Hunter said...

Beautiful. Sometimes comforting food is the best comfort for those who are left behind, when words can't come to "fix" anything, you know?

DH's mom passed away in the wee small hours of Christmas morning when Jason was 6 weeks old. It made Christmas hard for several years, but looking back on it, passing in her sleep like that ---it's a beautiful thing.

Bonnie

cityquilter said...

my condolences on this loss in your church family; what a Christmas he had for sure!; chicken salad? looks good, one of my faves...