Thursday, July 2, 2009


It seemed like the iPod of my era, when I unwrapped that little plastic transistor radio at Christmas. Suddenly, I could listen to my own music. I even had an earplug for privacy. The radio is long gone but the memories are still clear.

Memories were cascading yesterday as we celebrated the life and legacy of our dear Wilma. She graduated to heaven on Sunday, drifting away in her sleep. It was the way we all wanted her to go, if she had to leave us.

Wilma had three specific directions for her funeral. She instructed our pastor, in her soft Oklahoma drawl, these things:
  • "Keep it short, Kelly."
  • "Don't have one of those open mikes where people come up and say stuff about me."
  • "And don't put any hootch in the punch."

And now, a little like spiritual orphans, we step onward.

But Wilma's instructions fascinated me.

First, keep it short. Wilma seldom missed a gathering. She loved people and would have watched our embraces and tears with a prayer and a pat on the back. But she didn't want us to linger in the grief we were feeling.

Because this life wasn't about her. That's what her second direction meant. She didn't want us to idolize her. Our pastor called her an arrow, pointing to her blessed Savior. She was a humble servant. Our memories of her ought not to puff her up, but to direct us to God.

Regarding her third instruction, trust me: there was no danger of hooch in the punch. But she reminded us all to lighten up. Life with the Lord is joyous and a frequent laugh makes the days more, well, Wilma-like. Wilma laughed a lot.

Gifts aren't ours forever. But they can make our lives so much richer and stronger.

We'll spend years discovering the treasures that Wilma, our gift from God, has buried in our memories.

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