Sister Georgia, dressed in black contrasted only by the white lace handkerchief clutched in her hand, walked away from the graveside of her husband. Having laid him peacefully to rest after 65 years of marriage, she returned to her home escorted by her three sons and their families. Comforted by the fact that she had an abiding relationship with Jesus, she clung to her memories fearful of forgetting Brother Ray’s smile, his touch, or even his scent.
The little Pentecostal Church on the corner not far from her home filled her life over the next weeks as it had for most of her adult life. Because she now found herself all alone in the small house on the outskirts of the rural farming community, her Pastor and his wife made it a habit to pick her up every time the church doors were open.
Weeks passed by with Sunday morning and evening services, Wednesday night prayer meetings, and Thursday morning Bible Studies. Without fail, the seat next to this seasoned saint remained empty as it was understood by all to be a place of honor reserved in memory of Brother Ray. Those sitting nearby might have noticed her occasional glance to the empty seat beside her. Her loneliness was momentarily comforted by the memory of her beloved sitting with his arm holding her close.
Nearly three months had passed since the funeral. This particular Sunday morning, Sister Georgia awoke surrounded by a familiar peace that had been absent since the day Brother Ray was found “asleep” in his easy chair. The skies were crystal clear without a cloud in sight. Wheat fields across the street from her humble home gently blew in familiar rhythm as if the breath of God seemed to dance across tips of the golden grain.
At the sound of the doorbell, she greeted Sister Velma with a bounce in her step that had been missing these past months. Dressed in the pale green floral dress she wore to church the last time Brother Ray and Sister Georgia worshiped together, she seemed to glow with that mysterious peace that had graced her life for nearly 85 years. Arm in arm they walked to the car where Sister Velma helped her honored passenger into the back seat, buckled her in, and gently shut the door.
As they drove up to the church, Sister Georgia noticed the flowers were particularly brilliant this morning, glistening with the morning dew beneath the cross seasonally draped in purple standing erect in front of the white building. Multicolored petunias filled the landscape, outlined with carefully groomed shrubs. The sign in front of the church was graced with brilliant red geraniums reminding passersby of the ever-fresh and all-powerful blood of the Lamb of God so joyfully celebrated in the sanctuary. The breeze wisped through the trees making it necessary for her to join all the saintly women as they made a brief visit to the powder room to adjust their hair, pinning up any stray locks that had blown loose as they walked to the entrance of the little church.
The atmosphere seemed charged with hope and faith and expectancy! Sister Georgia took her usual seat, leaving room for her departed husband as was her custom. The pianist began to play as the trio came to the front with microphones in hand. Visions of glory captured her attention as she joined in the chorus:
Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me!
I once was lost, but now I’m found
Was blind, but now I see!
Without thinking, Sister Georgia stepped out into the aisle. It appeared to as if she was being carried away by the gentle winds outside. With the traditional bun piled high on her head and her arms lifted high, she danced and danced and danced! She didn’t care who saw her gracefully twirl as if the near crippling pain from her aged body and arthritic joints had suddenly vanished. She didn’t need a partner … she had One!
The Pastor arose and opened his Bible. With music continuing in the background and Sister Georgia still dancing totally oblivious of her surroundings, he satisfied the curiosity of any who might be wondering about such a display this glorious morning:
“Thou hast turned for me my mourning into dancing: thou hast put off my sackcloth, and girded me with gladness …O LORD my God, I will give thanks unto thee for ever.” (Ps 30:11-12 KJV)
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