Other things happened.
I saw my friend Lenna sitting across the isle, and went to join her. We chatted for awhile, and then I saw that my former pastor Lib McGregor Simmons was sitting in front of me. That was a nice surprise.
Here she is (on the right) with my current pastor Kelly Allen
Then, sometime during the sermon, which was about letting go of control as a Sabbath practice, Kelly was talking about letting go of control of your children.
Oh yeah, and there's more.
Yesterday was the 12th anniversary of my Mother's death. Talk about letting go of control--or having control wrestled from your clutching hands -- And I looked in front of me and there was Lib. Lib was my pastor at the time of Mama's death. In fact, she came to see us and pray with me in the hospital about a half an hour before Mama died. And she counseled me through the crippling grief.
I remember showing up at her home one day. She answered the door, and I collapsed in ugly sobs. It was probably her day off. I do not know if I would have survived without Lib. And without some of the other people at church, like my friend Shirley, who died a few years later. That is not hyperbole.
One of the readings for the day would have pissed Mama off.
"Look at the birds of the air, they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your Heavenly Father feeds them." I can hear her now. "Have you ever noticed how hard the life of a bird is? And God loves us like that? Not enough!"
I got a kick out of hearing her whisper that in my ear during the reading. And I was affirmed that I was in the right place. With my friend Lenna, who never knew Mom. With other people who remember her well. With Lib. With Kelly.
Two weeks ago I entered the narthex at church, and a woman I've known for years said, "Hello Mary." I'm in the right place.