We won't soon forgot the emotional roller-coaster of this Independence Day
weekend! We arrived at Point Lookout State Park in a town called Scotland,
Maryland on Thursday for the long holiday weekend. We were in awe of its
beauty, with each campsite in virtual seclusion due to the abundance of trees
and tall grass. The pier and beach were only a bike ride away from our
campsite and we thoroughly enjoyed exploring both. Being on our bikes
again was a true emotional high, riding side by side as the wind blew in our
Then on Friday evening just as we were about to sit down to dinner, came
the emotional low point as I read the news on our church Facebook page
of the death of our dear friend Suella. We knew she had suffered a massive
stroke while on vacation and hadn't regained consciousness, but reading
of her death was still shocking. I cried and cried as Tim held on to me. I had
had the pleasure of serving several years ago with Suella as Co-Director of
Worship during one year of my three year term and we had remained good
friends. The last conversation I had with her three weeks ago now seems
eerily profound. Before church started that day, Suella shared with me that
she had recommended me to join the Laying of of Hands Ministry at church.
She asked me if I knew that laying on of hands was my true calling and I
agreed with her that it likely is one of my gifts. She went on to say that
during our friendship and in her casual observation of my interaction with
others, she witnessed my ability to "lift people out of their darkness and
into the light". She made me promise to continue to do that and I assured
her that I would. I created a LEGO version of a house of darkness and a
house of light in honor of Suella.
I woke up on Saturday morning still thinking about Suella and life at
St. Mark's without her. Though I didn't feel much like celebrating, Tim
and I began our Independence Day by stopping at the Park's Camp
Store, and as we passed two women in the parking lot, one of them
turned around and called out my name. I didn't immediately recognize her
under a hat and with sunglasses so she said "it's Mary from St. Mark's!"
Wow, really??? How amazing is that? Mary and her partner Deb and me
and Tim hugged like old friends and chatted away in the parking lot.
They shared that they have always enjoyed watching me running around
at church carrying out my verger duties. I had to laugh!
We agreed to meet later on at the campground, so after an afternoon
rain shower we rode our bikes over to their campsite and had a great
time getting to know each other. We invited them over to our place for
wine, S'Mores and Scrabble after dinner, which as it turns out was a great
idea, because just as they arrived it began to storm which can be challenging
when you are tent camping. We had an absolute ball together sharing our
life's stories and we stayed dry too, though due to the weather we did have to
substitute our S'Mores for lemon cake.
They also hadn't heard the news about Suella's death, and once we gave them
the news we all shared some of our greatest memories with Suella. We also
talked about how amazing our meeting in a store parking lot was, given that
we'd never actually had an opportunity during the hustle and bustle of a Sunday
morning to have a conversation at church.
For me, last night once again clearly confirmed that our camper's name
"Memory Maker" is truly accurate. What are the odds that we'd lose one
friend and gain two others on the same weekend, from one church? Pretty
high I'd say, but I can guarantee that Suella was smiling down on me, Tim,
Mary and Deb last night as we not only shared our great memories of her,
but also made new memories of our own. A fabulous end to an emotional
weekend. We will miss you Suella. Rest in peace knowing that we will
continue the work we've been given to do.
Loretta, this is a most lovely, most poignant post about losing and gaining and finding peace with one and joy in the other. Again, lovely and poignant. Thank you
Thanks Paul, glad you thought the post was lovely. I’m definitely finding peace in it all. Losing and gaining truly takes time to process, not to mention the fact that I’m a work in progress too. Thanks again!
Loretta you put it so awesome. The only thing I can add is that we are a great team. Keep up the great work.
Thanks Tim!! It was quite the weekend and I couldn’t have survived it without you!! And I learned that my teammate has a very creative LEGO mind just like me!! Who knows what you and I will end up building together!!
Yes, beautifully written Loretta! When syncronistic events like this happen, I’m reminded of the fact that we are all held in the palm of God’s hand and that we are all connected — those living and those who have passed on — and we can never be separated from God’s love! So blessed to have have gained you and TIm as friends!
Amen Mary!!! I wrote a blog about a year ago entitled We Are All Connected!! And you’re so right, we never can be separated from God’s love!
See you soon my friend!!