Nobody noticed her slip in just before the worship service started. It was warm and inviting inside and she was glad she came in. Jack would be glad to see her, she thought to herself. She quietly took the closest seat on the back row. The church was fairly crowded and everybody stood to sing. She stood also, but didn’t sing. She couldn’t for the lump that had already started to form in her throat. As she trembled, they sang Amazing Grace. Her favorite song.
Penelope Wilson’s eyes welled in tears as the church sang in perfect harmony. How long had it been? She couldn’t remember. She just knew she had nowhere else to go. This was home. She had to come home. She closed her eyes and felt the song drift through her soul. It always affected her the same way. She always felt the stirrings of the Holy Spirit when this song was sung.
The congregation sat and the Pastor stood to deliver the sermon; “Jesus said: Come unto Me all ye who labour and are heavy laden and I will give you rest.”
Who is he? Where is Will? What have they done with my Will? Panicked thoughts rushed through her mind. Without being able to control herself she stood and screamed her thoughts: “Where is the Pastor of this church and who are you?! Where is Pastor Jack?”
She felt hundreds of eyes turned to look at her and several people gasped at her outburst. Deacon Brown came to take her by the arm. “It’s Mrs. Wilson” she heard someone whisper.
“Let me go, young man! Where is the Pastor?”
“Mrs. Wilson, the Pastor’s gone, remember?” deacon Brown gently said. “The whole town has been worried sick bout you, Ma’am. They’s a bunch of folk out searching fer you right now. Why’d you go off from tha home like that, Ma’am?”
“Home? I don’t know what you are talking about Jim Brown but you better tell me where my husband is!”
“Ma’am Pastor Wilson done gone to be with tha Lord, last year. He jes got old and his heart gave out, Ma’am. D’en you took sick and they put ya in that there nursing home so you could be looked afta round da’ clock. Don’t ya remember, now Ma’am?”
She heard the whispers “She has Alzheimer’s now, poor thing.“ She felt all eyes on her and her whole world came crashing down again, in that instant. As she began to cry, she knew it was true. Why can’t I remember? What is wrong with me? She screamed inside her mind.
Just then the new Pastor spoke very gently; “Church, let us gather round and pray for Mrs. Wilson. As they gathered around her, they hugged her and murmured soothing, consoling words. The Pastor began to pray: “Heavenly Father, thank you for bringing Mrs. Wilson home tonight, to Your house. We praise You for keeping her safe and sound. Lord, help her to understand that her world has indeed changed, but she still has You, Father and You never change. Help her to know You again tonight, Lord and understand Your perfect love for her. She has us too, her church that was started many years ago by her and her husband, as faithful servants to You. We thank You for them. In Jesus name, Amen.
Someone started softly singing Amazing Grace again and tears flowed from every eye in the church that night. They all one by one came up to hug Mrs. Wilson and thank her for her faithfulness for so many years. She was herself, just for a little while and fellowshipped with her brothers and sisters joyously. As everyone began taking their seats again she asked; “Pastor, may I stay for your sermon? I want to hear God’s Word once again, while I can listen……before I slip away from…..myself.”
“Of course, Mrs. Wilson. We’d love to have you stay.”
Pastor pulled deacon Brown aside and whispered “Call the nursing home and let them know where she is. Tell them to wait about thirty minutes before they come.”
Mrs. Wilson settled back in her seat to have church and listened intently, smiling and saying amen whenever the Pastor said something she liked. She thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it.
Just as the sermon ended Penelope Wilson; faithful Pastor’s wife for 52 years, quietly closed her eyes, slumped over and went home to be with her Lord.
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