It was 11:20am on September 27th, 2021, and I’d just arrived at St. John’s from Victoria General Hospital. My beloved Nana, Iris, six days previous, had suffered a massive stoke and wasn’t expected to survive. My poor Mom was a mess. My Dad, as he’d always been, tried to be the rock during crisis. My sister Kim was Nana’s executor, and had the unenviable job of dealing with an extended family full of bitterness. I’m sure her heart was breaking, just like mine, at witnessing our Mom falling to pieces. Carol-Anne, St. John’s Administrator, asked me how my Nana was doing. I said she’s comfortable and, at this stage, unconscious. After a few more minutes of chatting with Carol-Anne my phone rang. It was sister Kim, letting me know that Nana had just died. Although I knew Nana’s death was imminent, I still felt shocked when I heard this news. Nana was my confidant for years. I shared things with her that I didn’t share with anyone! She was my rock when I was going through the discernment process, and my sounding board when I attended Seminary. So much was flashing through my mind so quickly after hearing this. To add to things, I was scheduled to host Midday Prayer in half an hour.
When 12:00 came I went “live” on Facebook, doing my usual preamble, land acknowledgement and welcome. I knew my face looked terribly sad, and I definitely wasn’t my usual, bouncy self. Since our faithful UK friends who join us for Midday Prayer knew that my Nana was in hospital, and had been praying for her and my family, I knew I had to tell them after the welcome that she had just died… literally, just died. The outpouring of compassion from this community was overwhelming! My heart was so very broken. Yet, these friends were Christ for me in this very sad moment in time. This was God, in community, in real time, doing God’s work of compassion and love through friends during Midday Prayer.
I know I thanked them all so much for their love and prayers during this difficult time. But time again, I have remembered this tender moment of seeing God in friendship, compassion, and comfort in the gift of community. My Lenten prayer for everyone is that we may recognize these special moments of God’s work of love in our lives, through the outpouring of love from others.
For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. For in the one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and we were all made to drink of one Spirit.