Clara Pearl Donovan loved to go to funerals. It was not unusual for her to attend the final farewell services of perfect strangers. She said it was research for the book she was writing and not that she was especially morbid or nosy.
Her long suffering older sister, Olivia, tended to whine about the embarrassment she felt at Clara’s obsession. She claimed it was a creepy undertaking. Her choice of words made one wonder just where she registered on the eerie meter.
Clara Pearl was not moved by what her stuffy sibling-housemate and her cache of equally stiff uninformed friends thought as they yammered on with ill-conceived opinions about almost anything. In spite of their resistance to enlightenment, Clara made every attempt to teach them, even on her way out the door.
“You girls need to get better acquainted with the reality of this vapor we call life,” she lectured gently as she slapped her old rain hat on her sensible head, grabbed her umbrella, and headed for yet another interment.
Olivia insisted there were some things a person with refinement did not discuss. It was simply too unpleasant.
“I just refuse to think about it…period. There’s no need to dwell on a thing that causes such distress. Dear me, that depressing subject could make a person sick.”
Clara Pearl recognized her sister’s sad naiveté but couldn’t keep from teasing.
“…and if you got deathly sick, my dear human Ostrich, you might well find yourself on the next bus to Eternity.”
“Hush, Clara…please,“ Olivia whispered as her eyes darted back and forth hoping no mysterious grim reaper was taking names and making notes. “That sounds like sacrilege to imply we get there on wheels.”
“Well, then how do we get there, Sis? Aren’t you even curious?”
Olivia made for the kitchen to put on yet another pot of tea; always a sign the subject was closed. Confident of her chosen course, Clara returned to the writing project she prayed would be a wake-up call to all blasé fellow inhabitants on earth who gave no attention to the whole concept of living forever.
After Clara submitted her manuscript to the waiting publisher she didn’t bother to share the news with her obstinate sister who was too afraid to think about what would follow when she was evicted from her body.
The author’s ten copies of Lifting Up or Plummeting Down arrived while Olivia was gone to a Bridge tournament with her card-playing cohorts. Clara Pearl sighed with relief as she caressed the book she had worked so hard to create. She smiled at the cover’s picture of some confused-looking people peeking out the door of an elevator as if they were unsure about which button to push.
She stopped and thanked the Lord for keeping her strong and on task to get it completed in time, and then autographed the first one and placed it on her sister’s bedside table. She carried the second copy with her to the big recliner in the den, intent on reading it from page one. By the last chapter, she had fallen asleep.
In all the great ironies of life, some just seem tailor-made to confirm a serious testimony. That’s what was reported regarding the sudden demise of Miss Clara Pearl Donovan on the day her book made its first appearance. To be blunt…she simply up and died; or as she would have said with a dash of humor, “Died and UP.”
Olivia, quoted in the daily local, could not seem to share even one insight from what she had always assumed was a macabre, chilling, dark, and ridiculous probe into things better left to the unknown. In her devastating grief she felt compelled to read her sister’s effort in order to have a better response to the book’s fast growing fan base.
The woman who had been too scared to investigate the beautiful gospel about being absent in the body but present with the Lord devoured the words written by Clara Pearl. She wept, laughed, pondered, and finally fell to her knees in complete surrender to the conviction placed on her heart by the Holy Spirit. She saw the light!
The next interview Olivia gave went right to the heart of the matter--that death has no sting when a Christian understands this is not our home. We are only passing through, we are NOT staying.
The reporter captured this profound truth with the perfect story caption:
Donovan’s Sister Says “WOW!”
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