Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Grieving Zella

People at Center are grieving and rejoicing today. Grieving that she will no longer grace our gatherings, but rejoicing that she has gone to a better place with no more pain or sadness. We lost our oldest member of our congregation today. Zella Cain was one of the finest women I ever knew, and she inspired us by her life. She birthed and mothered seven children. Since two were handicapped and died as young adults and the oldest daughter died after years of fighting cancer, we knew she was acquainted with grief and hardship. Yet she was full of faith and loved to help people. I was always impressed that she seemed to love the ex-spouses of her family members.

I was also impressed that she was one of us down in the basement a couple years ago when our volunteer youth leader sponsored a community youth night with a noisy Christian rock band. The loud sounds were bearable to us oldsters down there, and we enjoyed the evening together by showing our support to the kids upstairs from all over town. Certainly no one expected her to leave her comfortable home and drive down to the church house in the dark, but she wanted to show love for the kids.` (That was the night that one of the visiting kids went into our library/church office to use the telephone to call a parent to come get him when the affair was over. That room has an ancient dial telephone. The kid looked at the phone helplessly and asked for help to know how to use a dial.)

One of my other special memories of the many I have of Zella was being in a prayer dyad with her one night. Her prayer request was that she would never be a burden to her family. She was very good at caring and nursing those who were ill. She took care of grandsons after surgery and that sort of thing. Yet she did not want anyone to have to wait on her and become a burden. I prayed that prayer with her that night and often when I thought of her after that night.

Yet her children and spouses and grandchildren were grateful to be able to pitch in during her final illnesses and keep company with her—considering it a privilege not a burden. They left their own churches and brought her to services when she could no longer drive, and her remaining daughter helped her host our women’s group in Zella’s home the last few years when Zella wanted to do it but needed help. We will celebrate her life on Saturday and provide the dinner after the funeral. She will be sorely missed but often remembered. Those memories will inspire us to attempt to follow the same teachings she adhered to during her lifetime.

No comments: