I Miss Her Most at Suppa Time

The funeral had long been over.

         There was no graveside service.

                The sanctuary was empty but for Clarence.

He sat in a pew about a third of the way back, 

        on the left side, completely

                                                        alone.

 

It was my first ever service as a real pastor. 

I was 23, he was 73.

I tried to look busy while I gathered together the little sheets of 

                                      paper that described the life of the woman,

                whose body lay in a casket at the head of the room.

 

Clarence leaned his chin forward against his palms.

His elbows rested on his pants.

His face was not sad, 

                  just empty.

He stared in silence at the casket.

 

Finally I came over to him and sat down in the pew in front of his.

He didn't move his eyes. I looked over my shoulder and then back to him.

                               "Are you gonna be okay Clarence?"

He very slowly turned his face to mine and said,

              "You know, I think I will miss her most at suppa time."

 

And when he said the words, "suppa time",

                                                          his eyes sparkled.

The corners of his mouth turned upward into a smile.

 

I knew that he was remembering years of 

being together with a woman for far more than sharing a meal.

There were times when there was laughter.

The noise of children…

And the quiet of a setting sun.

There were days of struggle,

Discussions about medical bills, and prayers of thanksgiving.

 

I could see all of those cares and conversations, 

revealed in the sharing of that one sentence.

 

I had nothing to add.

So, I nodded my head, patted his shoulder and left the room.

 

But I have taken with me, one thought that has rooted itself in my life today.

          We think the big things are what we will remember.

          We think that it is the moments that we carefully plan, that will stick with us.

          We think that we can ignore the common days because they will not matter,

          And that as long as we really celebrate the times that are set aside for 

                                                                                                                  grander purposes,

Our memories will be full.

 

But through Clarence, 

I have come to believe that exactly the opposite is actually the truth.

 

May we all search through those common days,

for the breadth of life that we were meant

to find there.