Saturday, May 25, 2013

One More Angel in Heaven

The first thing out of her mouth when she heard that her dear friend Pastor Henry Brau had died was a rousing chorus, "There's one more angel in Heaven. There's one more star in the sky. But Pastor the things that you stood for, like Truth and Light never die!" There is one more angel in Heaven, and quite frankly there was one more tear in my eye after that loving display from a five year old who believes in the immediate and unabashed celebration of a loved one's death. After all, she reminds us, they are with God - the Best Place to Be. This is something to celebrate. 

"Why do people cry or get sad as soon as people find out that people die?" she asked. "I mean, I know they will miss them, but shouldn't they be happy for them first?"

"I guess most of us are just more selfish than you are, my love."

This conversation ran through my mind as I sat in the church sanctuary which bloomed with flowers from the Brau's garden as well as with people whose lives were touched by Henry's generous soul. In those quiet moments before all gathered celebrated his life and mourned his death, I couldn't help but reflect on the impact Pastor Brau had on my life. 

The small things he did live hugely in my mind. That he was a good steward to the Earth, through his own gardening and through the Earthkeeping Team at our church planted the seed of wanting to be a better steward to the Earth myself. His stewardship toward people, from donating a portion of his harvest to a food pantry to the genuine care he showed for all inspire me to be more giving of my time, my talents, my possessions, and myself. 

One memory filled my mind as I contemplated the impact Pastor Brau had on my life. It was a precious ordinary moment. After worship one Sunday, Pastor Brau, placing his hand on my shoulder, asked, "How are you doing. I mean how are you really  doing?" I could tell he wasn't expecting, nor would he be content with, an "I'm fine, and you?" response. As I told him of my struggles with psoriatic arthritis, he asked many questions, letting me know it was my option to answer or not, as he didn't want to ask things too personal. His genuine interest in learning more about the disease attacking my body and concern for my total well-being deeply touched my heart. Knowing that he meant it when he said he would include me in his prayers gave me great comfort. It was a short coffee-hour conversation, but the love and care radiating from his soul left my soul at peace and my spirits buoyed. 

I will forever remember the twinkle in Pastor Brau's eyes as he shared his knowledge, his talents, and his loving kindness with others. His bounteous spirit has forever left its mark on my soul.

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