May your unfailing love be my comfort, according to your promise to your servant. Let your compassion come to me that I may live, for your law is my delight.
It was a beautiful Sunday morning in early May 2004. We were about to leave for church when the telephone rang. The weeping voice on the phone was the daughter of my longest and dearest friend, a friend who had always been there through life’s ups and downs. For 35 years we had shared laughter and tears, our deepest fears and emotions, and our meager resources when our children were small and times were hard. Carol was suddenly gone. Tragically, she died when she fell down a flight of stairs.
Carol’s daughters asked me to speak at her funeral. I had many memories to share so I quickly agreed. As Jimmie and I drove to Saratoga Springs, I thought about what I wanted to say. When we arrived at the visitation, friends, co-workers, and people in the community began coming to pay their respects. Carol must have known everyone in town! The line was through the front door of the funeral home, down the sidewalk, and circled the block. Suddenly, I was not only grieving for my friend, I was also suffering a colossal case of stage fright at the thought of speaking in front of so many strangers.
Back in our hotel room, I told Jimmie that I didn’t think I could do the eulogy. I was too emotional, too terrified. I had never done this before and had no confidence that I could get through it without breaking down. I hoped Carol’s daughters would understand and forgive me. I prayed that night, asking for God’s help. I told him that I wanted to speak about Carol, but without his help, I could not. A feeling of calm and peace soon surrounded me, and I knew I would be okay. The Lord heard my prayer, as he hears us all. God was with me the next morning as I talked about my memories of my friend. The last few sentences were tearful, but I had spoken my heart.
Prayer: Father, Thank you for hearing our prayers and reassuring us when we are weak. Help us to remember that you are always with us in our time of need. We have only to ask…and listen to your answer. Amen.