"Sherry!" My mother exclaimed from her hospital bed. My mother, nearly blind, felt her presence before anyone else. Sherry, like the sweet aperitif, filled the room with warmth and ease. Her head enshrouded in tight brown curls and her round cherubic face make her age undeterminable. While I found her familiar, I could not place her. Even her trademark running shoes failed to give her away as she was without her clerical robes. It was her quiet, measured way of speaking that jogged my memory, and at last I recognized my parents' pastor.
Sherry arrived with good cheer and carried communion in a tidy case. She had left her own struggles with chemo and weariness at the door. Her moon pie face, all smiles and warmth, gave no trace of personal hardship. Her focus was on my parents and the "love" she wanted to bring them.
My mother though frail and weak from pneumonia conveyed her regrets for not attending Sunday services. Sherry waved it off and matter-of-factly stated that, "Trinity Sunday is not my favorite anyway." When I queried her about this, she answered wryly, "I'd rather preach the Good News than doctrine." I smiled at the insight into her preaching preferences and had to agree.
Sherry invited us all to take communion. There was no question about my sister's or my credentials. All were welcome under her inclusive umbrella. It was in the blessing & sharing of the bread that Matthew's words came alive, “For where two or three have gathered together in My name, I am there in their midst." As Sherry softened the host for my Mother's parched lips & gently guided my Dad's uncertain hand toward the wine cup, I saw and felt the love that she intended to bring. With each word and fluid movement, she enfolded us in it.
Before she left she shared a story that brought a smile to my father's worry creased face. Then, she kissed his craggy forehead & caressed my mother's gnarled, hands with the tenderness of a mother caring for her newborn. And so she left as she came in...padding out on those signature shoes but leaving us with much love and Good News. ~c. Hause