|Marilyn getting her face painted at Applefest, 2007 (September 29, 2007)|
My friend Marilyn died this past December, early in the morning on the 7th. There's a beautiful story about her dying moments that caps off what could easily be called a graceful dying couple of years. I won't share it here. I don't know the full details. That's not what I'm writing about, anyway.
Marilyn had four kinds of cancer, and lived much longer than she was told she probably would. She also crammed a lot of living in that time, as well.
I may have met Marilyn at some point prior to going to church at First United Methodist in North Kansas City, but if so, I don't remember it. My first memory of note where she is concerned was at a W.O.W. night, when she told me she thought I should go to Cursillo. I had no idea what that was, and had no idea what would happen at such an event, but she seemed to feel strongly that it was for me.
I got the paperwork in, went to the weekend, and it seriously changed my life.
If you were wondering where Rube Goldberg comes in, we're there:
In a way, I think of Marilyn like some necessary piece in the Rube Goldberg machine that got me to where I am today in my faith. I can identify a lot of the pieces: my near-death experience (for lack of a better "term" for it), Jhoneric's upset at wishing me dead that very same day, Andy coming to see me at the hospital, Bert passing on to Andy news of my mother's passing, subsequent talks with Andy, and about a fifteen other things that came before and after and between those events.
Marilyn was in there, big time. She told me after that weekend how she knew it would mean something to me to go.
So whether she was the fan that blew the sailboat across the kiddie pool to knock over the glass with the golf ball in it, or she was the sailboat, the pool, the glass, the golf ball, or the pulley that activated the fan, she was an important piece in my journey. (Not to imply that I'm there yet, mind you.)
One of the last times I saw Marilyn was at my second Cursillo weekend. I was working that weekend, and she got herself assigned as my "buddy". If anyone were to ask, I wish I could say in person what it means to me that she prayed with me and for me that weekend this summer. If anyone where to ask, I wish I could say in person what it means to me that she was very adamant that she would be my buddy, or what it means to me that we had time that weekend to just sit and talk, and I got to know her better. If anyone were to ask, I wish I could say what it means to me that she enjoyed the recording of Sarah McLachlan singing Prayer of St. Francis that I brought for that weekend.
But I don't like getting upset in front of humans. I don't know if I could do it in front of Ben & Tricia's current dog, even. Their dog Killian was the best at hanging out and being all cool-dog when random upset hit me in front of him. I think Guinness would just jump in my face and try to lick my tears or something.
The point is, I don't do emotions well with humans present.
So now, in my continuing faith journey, I have to ask myself how often I'm a piece in a Rube Goldberg machine. I have to go further and ask myself how many times am I supposed to be, but fail to do my little part.
Marilyn seemed to be so good at having a caring heart with eyes of love that really looked at those around her and saw what she needed to be doing. Perfect? Probably not. But better at love than I am? For sure.