Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Carry

"Carry" is a word my maternal grandmother used a lot. A nurse in a small Mississippi town, Mamaw would carry people to the hospital. She even had a spiffy maroon Barracuda with a fold down seat that she used to transport the sick to the local emergency room before the advent of reliable ambulance service.

Mamaw would also carry food to the sick and bereaved. She carried the "old people" who were often younger than SHE was, to the doctor, the grocery store, and to church.

My mother was my grandmother's only child. She was a nurse as well, and inherited the "carry" gene. Before she became chronically ill, Mama carried people to the doctor and the grocery store. Even after Mama became quite ill, if she heard about an illness or death in our circle of community and friends, she would get out of bed, cook, and carry food.

My sister and I are third generation "carriers." With two children and a full time job, my sister is mostly a food carrier. She may not cook all her food from scratch, but she knows where the best takeout is.

And I am a carrier. It is just in my nature. I carry people to the doctor and the hospital. I carry food, usually homemade, to the sick and bereaved. I get more stressed at the thought of NOT being able to do these things than I ever get at DOING them.

I really feel like carrying is in my blood. Being able to do this honors the memories of both my mother and my grandmother. This apple did not fall far from the tree.

So, I carry. And carry on.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Twick

Actually, her given name was Martha. Nobody ever called her that, though. It was always "Twick." This gracious lady was a staunch supporter of me and my music. Hers was the face I looked for in the congregation for encouragement.

Twick passed away on Thursday of cancer. Lung cancer. She had none of the risk factors. Just one of those unexplainable things.

I was honored to be asked to sing for Twick's funeral service today. It was quite an occasion. Four members of the clergy, two lay speakers, two soloists, and a jazz trumpeter were all part of the service that Twick had spent her last weeks planning.

I got through my solo. I was behind a huge stand of flowers and had difficulty seeing the family. I was handcuffed by my choir director's wish for piano accompaniment to a song that begged to be allowed the freedom of being sung a cappella. Asthma, MG, and exhaustion worked together to make breathing more difficult than usual. Although I know few, if any, in the congregation noticed, I was left feeling frustrated and unsatisfied with what I wanted to be my very best effort.

All I can do now is pray that God took my less than perfect effort and made it good enough.

At least for Twick.