I’m just getting in from my friend of 33 years mother’s funeral. She’s being buried on her 91st birthday!! What a glorious and full life!! I wouldn’t have missed the service for anything. Rita Law was a woman I always gravitated toward at family/friend gatherings. Her light was so bright, I was like a moth to her vibrant flame. Her last few years were marred by worsening dementia and yet one could always sense her inner radiance.
Rita raised seven children— all pillars in their communities and wonderful, devoted yet imperfect parents themselves. The eulogy was filled with details of the Laws’ parenting style: what stood out for me was that the children were ALWAYS heard! They didn’t always agree with what was said, but the children knew their parents trusted them. The Laws must have instilled in their children a knowing that God makes beautiful things out of His love.
I am certain Rita, like all humans, had her moments of pain + suffering, feeling disconnected from her God. But she must have found such solace in serving her family and friends. The house was always filled to overflowing with people from the community and church being fed and loved well.
This, I think, was her secret: A Heart of SERVICE
Putting the needs of others before her own, Rita’s heart was unified with her Beloved Blessed Mother. We should all be so lucky to have our hearts touched by the holy Madonna, Mother of God. Rita lived life in fervent imitation of Mary’s mercy, grace, humility (true power), and love.
As I sat and listened and sang the Ave Maria, I held eight-month old baby Nora, whom I nanny. It was nap-time and I thought she would sleep through the entire service. Boy was I wrong!
Nora sang, babbled and was the highlight of our back rows with her shining face, bright eyes and joyful noise!! On occasion, I worried she might distract the necessary mourning and I would take her near the back. It was raining outside so I couldn’t take her outdoors. I’m sure everyone could hear her squeals no matter where I tried to hide.
At communion time, Nora and I walked to the front and the priest placed a blessing on the sweet, innocent. He instantly recognized God makes beautiful things out of His love. As the communion wafer was placed on my tongue the power of the Body of Christ instantly filled my heart and tears sprang to my eyes. I prayed He would make me new, a lovely imitation of Rita, a servant to my fellow man and friend of God.
I once more retreated to the back and couldn’t stop the flow of tears as the innocent in me felt deep, abiding grace bringing me back to memories of my youth; loved by my own mother, aunt and Oma (who passed on 16 years ago). A grateful heart filled with love for all the women (a village truly, as various neighbors helped while my family went to work) who guided me those early days and have helped make me the woman I am today.
As the seven and their spouses walked past me, the rain had just let up. The beautiful child and I sat outside the church and I whispered with more tears “I sure hope baby Nora didn’t disturb anything with her happy chatter”. And one by one they smiled and replied the same
“OH NOOOOO! Rita would have LOVED it!!”
On our car ride home, I remarked to my husband of nearly 23 years, “Look the sun is coming out!” to which he replied, “Ok Rita!!”. I must have had a look of confusion on my face when he said, “Oh you were in back and missed the story about how she loved Ocean City with the whole family around and no matter how dreary the day, stormy the weather, she was known to say with the sincerest of heart— Look I see it brightening!”.
Yes, one example of her inner radiance manifesting in our dark + fallen world for us to see God’s love by.
I truly believe God woke up the innocent babe and allowed her joy to ripple out a healing vibration to the hearts of the many. God truly makes beautiful things out of His Love.