"What can a ruined soul, like mine, effect towards the redemption of other souls?—or a polluted soul, towards their purification?"

This blog has been moved to www.fallenpastor.com.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Margaret: A Friend Late In Life

Cynthia and I went to a funeral today of a sweet woman whom we knew for only eight months. Her name was Margaret. She was a member of the church we joined while we were waiting for my divorce to go final right before we were married. It was the church where my pastor friend Kyle worked.

Her and her husband Peter were married over 60 years and they loved us from the moment they met us. Their son Graham was a little older than us and he took to me immediately. I told him our story and he didn't judge us at all. Graham eventually told Margaret and Peter our story, but it didn't matter to either of them what Cynthia and I had done, they loved us just the same. We were like children to them.

Each Sunday and Wednesday, Peter would see me and give me a big hug and so would Margaret. They doted on us and our children like we were their own.

When I had the occasion to preach, they would say the kindest things to me and encourage me. They both filled for me the void that many church members had not over the years. When we eventually had the falling out with Kyle, (which has now been reconciled), Margaret called and called, begging us to come back to church there.

Recently, she fell ill and was hospitalized. We visited her almost every day for the week and a half she was ill. Unfortunately, she had a stroke and never recovered.

Peter, Graham and the family asked me to be a pallbearer at the funeral and I was asked to read a poem.

Last night, Cynthia and I shared some thoughts about that. How is it that we were able to find such amazing love from such beautiful people whom we had known for only a few months? Here was a woman who had lived for over 80 years on this earth and she and her husband loved us more than anyone else in this community ever had.

They looked past our sin and saw us as people. Just a young couple with three children who needed help during a difficult time. They'll never know how much that meant to us.

Today, for the first time since I gave a book report in junior high, I shook as I talked to an audience. I shook out of emotion.

I said, "Thank you to the family for the honor of being a pallbearer. I'm a Johnny come lately in Miss Margaret's life. My wife Cynthia and I knew her and her husband Peter during the worst time in our lives. But she saw past our trouble and loved us for who we were and loved us like we were her own children."

Friends, I am desperate for that kind of love in this world. And I am desperate to love others like that. Thank God for women like Miss Margaret and men like Peter who do just that.

I pray that her love will continue to live in her children, her grandchildren, and in me and Cynthia. She was a small woman, but her heart was big enough to fill mine and restore it with the hope I needed.

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