Homily for Friday, September 25th, 2015 || Memorial Service of Katherine MacLure Lincoln || Wisdom 3: 1-5,9; Psalm 23; Revelation 21: 2-7; John 14: 1-6 || Th Rev. Margot D. Critchfield
Kay and Ed were among the first people Don and I met when we came to St. Stephen’s. They had generously agreed to serve on the committee tasked with welcoming the new rector. Don was impressed with Ed before we’d even met him, because Ed had sent us a whole packet of the kind of very useful, very practical information that guys love–on everything from where to bank to where to get our cars serviced–and maps– lots and lots of maps I, on the other hand, was immediately impressed with Kay—who, from the first time we met at a dinner at the Avotin’s house 8 years ago to the last time I visited her at Harbor House not long before she passed away was always—and I mean always— impeccably dressed and even more impeccably gracious.
But what really impressed me about Kay the most was that even as she neared the end of her life she was far more interested in asking questions than she was in answering them. Ed teases about how much Kay liked to talk, and I think we’d all agree that Kay was a true people person, an off the charts extrovert. But as much as Kay liked to talk, she didn’t like to talk about herself—which, I must say, could make pastoral visits kind of tricky. Kay was always filled with so much curiosity about what was going on in my life, in your lives, in the life of this church, and in the life of our community, that finding out how she was feeling could be somewhat challenging!
Not long ago I read an Eleanor Roosevelt quote that made me think of Kay. It was one I hadn’t heard before. She said, “Life was meant to be lived, and curiosity must be kept alive. One must never, for whatever reason, turn his back on life.”
Well, Kay never turned her back on life. By the time she and I met, her skiing, skating, golfing and tennis days may have been over, but her keen interest in other people—her clearly compassionate curiosity—and the positive approach to life that accounted for the constant twinkle in her eyes—those gifts kept Kay fully engaged with the world around her even when she couldn’t participate it in as she would have liked. Kay lived life, she loved people, and her curiosity enabled her to engage both with anticipation and with joy.
And now Kay’s joy is complete. Now Kay is more alive than she’s ever been—fully healed and made whole, alive with all those we love and see no more, alive with all the saints in light, alive in the dwelling place that Christ prepared for her, and which—knowing Kay—is now as impeccable as her house.
But our dear friend Ed here has lost the love of his life, the woman he wooed persistently, asking her to marry him something like half a dozen times before she finally said yes! And today would have been their 62nd wedding anniversary. How does one keep putting one foot in front of the other after such a loss?
“Do not let your hearts be troubled,” Jesus says in this morning’s gospel. “Believe in God, believe also in me.”
Well, Ed, by all means believe in God. Believe in Jesus, too. And I know you do. We all know you do. So you just go ahead and let your broken heart be troubled. Let your broken heart be troubled and let your eyes be filled with tears. Think about your beloved Katherine as much as you want and visit with her at Joy Place as often as you want. You have lost your life’s companion, your best friend, your soul mate. Take your time. Your grief honors her, and it honors the love you shared, the love you will always share.
Just remember as you grieve that you are not alone…that you will never be alone… that God is with you, and that this church is filled right now with people who are here not just to honor Kay, but to honor you. Because just like your beloved Katherine, we love you, Ed Lincoln. Amen.