The service I went to was for a most wonderful woman, a member of my church. She was one of those ladies of the "old school" where manners and graciousness mattered, yet she never put on airs. In fact, I would say she was one of the most down-to-earth women, no, people, I have ever had the pleasure to meet. She was a gem, a joy, a fine example of what it means to be a good person.
Whenever I'd see Jeanne in church, she was put her hand on my arm and say, "Come by and have a cup of coffee with me." And she meant it. And I did several times do just that. I went by and had a cup of coffee and some banana bread or cookies with her. She made good coffee and baked a mean banana bread. And she made great conversation. She not only talked about church goings on, but on city politics and events and how the Lakers/Cardinals/etc were doing.
To put it succinctly, Jeanne was interesting. She had lived a long and full life. But more than that, she was full of joy. Joy. She liked people, loved her family and the church and could make anyone feel welcome anywhere, any time.
So I went to her memorial service because, well, I couldn't have been anywhere else. And I learned so much more about her. She was one of 12 children. She was married to her husband, a man she still referred to as "My Jim", for just shy of 60 years. Two children, four grandchildren and many grandchildren. She never worked, but, as one of her grandsons noted, her work was making life better for everyone around her. And she did that just be being herself.
So on this day of Epiphany in the Christian church, it seems appropriate that this celebration of life should bring a wake up call to me, if not everyone present. The call? Take time. Take time to get to know the people around you. Visit. Have a cup of coffee. Don't be too busy to converse. That is what life is all about. Jeanne knew that. And once again I am reminded of that. Don't put off visiting. Don't forget to ask how people are...and really listen. Everyone has a story. And if you are tuned in, you might just learn something. If I had such a thing as a resolution list for the New Year, this would be in the top five. In any case, it is time to incorporate this into my mission.
And so there you have it: another wake up call.