Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The Good That is There!

Today -my day didn't get off to the best of starts!

Began with a phone call from one of my former neighbor's nieces. Her sister had been married to my ex-brother-in-law and her parents had been the daughter and son-in-law who had bought the old homestead next door from the patriarch/matriarch of the family back in the early 70s. So I grew up next door to this young woman's mother and her siblings and my kids grew up with the next generation of that family. (I still miss that there isn't some member of that family living beside me even though the house was sold to someone outside of the family back in the mid-to-late 80s!)

Patti -the young woman who called was wanting more information about the accident though as she had been close friends of the mother of the young woman who was killed. (The same person who had babysat for my kids 30 plus years ago -as had Patti and her older sister, Tina, too!) She was unbelieving at first that this could possibly be her friend's daughter, asking me was I absolutely sure.

Well, to the best of my detective abilities, yes, I was as sure as I could be then.

Less than two minutes after hanging up from that phone call, I got a call then from Patti's cousin -Charmaine -who used to be my daughter Mandy's boss for the four plus years that Mandy worked at the restaurant Charmaine and her husband had here. Charmaine was calling to tell me that her uncle, Micheal, had left this world this morning and moved on to the next life.

Now, I know that this was what we all would consider to have been a blessing for him -put him out of the terrible suffering he had to endure for the past 15 months or better as the cancer ate away at him. But still and all, it doesn't take away the grief one does feel when you say goodbye.

Mandy had taken Kurtis to State College for a dental appointment and then had a bunch of errands she had to run but when she got home she was all worked up.

Seems she had seen the sister of the young man who died and they had talked. She knew the time and place for the funeral plus the fact that the families were going to have a meal after the funeral and this was going to be held at our fire hall here in town in order to have a place large enough to accommodate the extended and very large families involved from both sides. She had asked the sister if there was anything we could do, did they need anything and the sister had said simply, "Yes, FOOD -for the dinner!" They are expecting between 200-250 people will be attending the dinner so that's a whole heck of a lot of food that would be needed for two grieving families -no matter how big they are -to try to pull together!

Mandy asked me if I thought it might be alright to contact some folks in our neighborhood, from our church, to see if they might be willing to help, to donate food for the dinner -which is how our church handles dinners when there is a death in our church family.

I told Mandy that although -in my opinion -that would be the right thing to do, because neither family was affiliated with our church directly or even indirectly, I wasn't sure if that would be within the boundaries of protocol. So I told her to call our minister, Pastor Carrie and see what she had to say about that idea.

Pastor Carrie's response was "Definitely!" That she felt exactly as Mandy and I did and that it was our responsibility to try to help in whatever manner we found possible.

So, after that, I contacted two women I know from the Catholic Church here in the village and by late afternoon, found myself working, hand-in-hand, with one of those two ladies to try to get a coordinated effort going to request food donations from people within at least these two churches in our area.

I spent then the rest of the afternoon and almost the entire evening then, calling members of our church, explaining what was going on, as well as explaining to many who didn't recognize the names of the deceased individuals, to explain to them whose daughter the young woman had been, whose granddaughter too that she had been.

And trust me here, when I tell you this, I ended this evening with such a wonderful feeling inside me based solely on the responses I received from those from our church as they opened up their hearts and offered their hands to make something, anything -salads, casseroles, cakes, etc. -anything -that we can have to help feed those coming to the fire hall after the funeral on Thursday!

Because things have been changing in the community over the past 30 some years now -changes that should never have been necessary had people not been so bigoted, prejudiced a century ago here based on ethnicity and religion -but these days, rarely is there a funeral in our church or in the Catholic church here in town that doesn't touch members of the other churches around because the community had finally begun to open up to each others ethnic or religious group.

As I spoke to the two women from the Catholic Church, I mentioned about that to them and that perhaps it would be a nice idea if we set up some type of group from each of the local church women's groups to see to it that in the future, we all work together to help our neighbors not just our church family, church neighbors but the entire community to help bring the healing process to bereaved families in the community regardless of that family's religion or anything else!

I'm going to bring this idea up too at the next meeting of the Women's group at our church to see if we can't make some kind of move on doing something like this in the future.

As Mandy said to me tonight, "We are after all, all God's children, aren't we? And as such, aren't we supposed to help and comfort one another?"

My answer to that is a very emphatic, YES! Indeed, we are!

How far the idea will go - well, that still does remain to be seen but those that I mentioned this to today seemed to believe the same as I do on this matter.

Maybe, just maybe, we can then finally put the ignorance, the bias, the nasty words and name calling that so often permeated the area for many years well behind us for once and for all!

I sure do hope so anyway!

And finally - just wanted to thank those of you who sent prayers to the families of these two young people as well as to the family -immediate and extended -of my dear friend, Michael. I appreciated very much all the thoughtfulness expressed by so many of you, my blogger friends and I believe that some how, some way, those who have lost these loved ones now felt some modicum of comfort come over them too!

That, I also believe very much too! The power of prayer is truly never-ending!


Anonymous said...

Boy what an emotional roller coaster you've been on! And in the midst of it all to reach out to so many and bring so many together all for the comfort of yet more neighbors.. You are such a blessing.. Know that and believe it..

Anonymous said...

What a very positive post to read. It's all about fellowship and helping people come together isn't it. And once that's been achieved, the rest just falls into place.

CJ xx

Smalltown RN said...

Through loss and tragedy comes goodness. What a wonderful opportunity to bring the community together...so even in their death they bring life....

Thank you for sharing this story...

Linda said...

It's always very heartwarming to see that there are still communities who reach out to help their own when they are in need whether that be through donations of food or fundraisers or any other form of support.

It sounds to me like you are in the midst of some truly wonderful people in your community who know exactly what fellowship and caring are all about. Bravo to you all and I'm sure that the appreciation of the receiving family will result in more positive things as they pay it forward to someone else further down the line.

Sandee said...

Good to see your community pulling together in a great time of need. Excellent. I'm sure it will be a great success with so many participating.

Have a terrific day. :)

... Paige said...

from great sadness will beauty bloom and here is proof of it.


TechnoBabe said...

I am sure that when you bring up the idea of a community emergency help line it will be received as openly as you yourself thought of it. We are all one community no matter what religion or affiliation. Good for you.

Suldog said...

First off, you're a lovely soul, Jeni. I suspect you know that already - and would be humble about it, if I gave you the chance - but it never hurts to be told.

Isn't it nice how something bad can happen, then folks get together to try and make it better, and the feeling you come out of it with is tremendously comforting? God's healing power at work through us.

God bless.

www.aslksa.com said...

Happy happy late birthday to Maya


Hilary said...

It's so nice to know that your community is being so supportive at this sad time. Your idea is a fine one and I sure hope they adopt it.

I'm so sorry for your losses.

Berni said...

What a wonderful idea, not only helping those in need but pulling the body of Christ together. I hope the idea catches on.

Tee aka The Diva's Thoughts said...

What a wonderful thing you guys are doing!

Dr.John said...

I think what your doing is wonderful.

....Petty Witter said...

Sorry to hear your news - I'm glad that, in your faith, you find such comfort.

I see you haven't had another visit from our 'friend' the detective. He paid me another visit, the SECOND - I'm glad to see my blog is so bad he had to come back. Seriously though if you could extend your prayers to this obviously sad, lonely individual.

terri said...

So many people see something they think SHOULD be done, but sit back and wait for the "doers" to do it. That is great that Mandy took charge of her idea of bringing everyone together to help the families in need. I hope that the collaboration of efforts becomes a regular thing.

Keith said...

What a wonderful thing for Mandy and you to do. And Pastor Carrie rocks.

Mandy said it well, that we are ALL God's children. In this day and age when the church argues with others about doctrine and theology, it is nice to see that some churches can put all of that aside and do the thing that Jesus would do.

Kudos to you, Mandy, Pastor Carrie and everyone else that jumped in to "serve" another family during their time of loss.

This is what it's all about my friend. You know it, I know it. Wouldn't it be nice if everyone knew it?


Jocelyn said...

Good for you, Jeni. In my adolescence, I got disillusioned with organized religion, as I lived in a town where it mattered what church you went to--as in, people my mom had known for years wouldn't talk to her if anymore, if, say, they bumped into her at the grocery store, after she and my dad switched churches. I just couldn't see what was "Christian" about such behavior. Thank you for redeeming what it means to be "Christian." This post is an inspiration.

Marguerite said...

Communities working together is what it's all about! Such a lovely thing to do. Thanks for your visit and your sweet comment!