Audrey, in her shaky voice, said, "Just read some verses on faith."
Paul pulled out his Bible, showed her some verses, and together they settled on what he would read the following day at the graveside service.
I remember driving to the cemetery and saying to Paul, "Are you sure you're ready? I haven't see you prepare much for this?
He said, "I don't really have much to say. I never met the man. I am just going to read his obituary and then read the verses she wanted me to read."
When we arrived at the cemetery, we were greeted by a handful of their friends and their lawyer. We made small talk and then worked our way up to the tent.
Much to our surprise, there was not a casket with Harold's body in it. Instead, there was a table with a urn setting on top. And, under the table, there was another urn.
Not being one to mince words, I looked at Audrey and screamed (yes, screamed. Remember, she can't hear.), "WHO'S THAT UNDER THE TABLE?"
She looked at me as if I were the odd one and said, "That's my sister!"
Her sister!!! What in the world?????!! What is this two for the price of one?
I decided not to bother with any more questions.
Once we were sure our audience was complete, Paul started in on the service. There were only about 15 people there including my mom, myself, Paul, Shelby, Audrey and her lawyer.
Paul began by reading the obituary. He then read the requested verses and then... something possessed him to say more than what was rehearsed. Having little to say about a man he had never even seen, he realized he needed more material than the 3 minutes it took to read the obituary and the few verses Audrey had chosen.
He continued with the service said, "Harold is in Heaven...... hopefully."
My eyes grew as big as saucers and then about popped out of my head. He said HOPEFULLY. He said Harold is in heaven... hopefully.
He caught a glimpse of my bulging eyes. And, then, he stammered around for some more words.
"And, Audrey will soon be joining him.... like in 5, 10, 20 years."
If it were possible, my eyes grew even larger. He just said Audrey will soon be joining him. The pastor, my husband, just gave Audrey her death sentence. Are you kidding me?
Everything went blurry for a moment until Audrey's voice snapped me back to remind me where I was. I was under a tent where my husband suddenly got a conscience and decided since he had never spoken the first word with Harold he couldn't speak with certainty on the eternal destination of her DEAD husband. So, HOPEFULLY, Harold is in heaven!
Audrey seemed to yell at Paul and say, "You're gonna have to speak up. I can't hear a word you are saying!!"
It seems Audrey may have been spared the news that Harold may or may not be in Heaven and that she would soon be joining him... in 5, 10 or 20 years.
The rest of us, well, we have a great story to tell.
All of that to say, it would stand to reason why I get a little afraid when Paul speaks and I am there to listen. Now, don't get me wrong. He has redeemed himself over and over and over again. He has perfected his funeral service. His wedding ceremonies... the best I have heard. He has emceed many events. He has spoken to hundred of college students at a time. He is a very confident, very good speaker.
However, I always find I am the one with the nervous stomach any time he has to do stand up in front of a large group of people and teach. So, for 10 days or so leading up to February 22, I found myself shivering every time I remembered that he was asked to fill in for the pastor of a very large church (+-3000 people) in the area.
Friday night, I even did such a girl thing. I remembered he had mentioned a vest he wanted so I went and bought it. Come on girls! You know getting new clothes for ANY event makes us feel better. And, don't we always perform better when think we look good??
I came home all excited to give him the vest he had talked about.
He didn't get it. He just could not get over the fact that I spent $44 for a vest. I told him it was my tutoring money and to get over it.
And, so yesterday with his gray and white argyle vest, he delivered one of the best if not THE BEST, sermon I have ever heard him give.... 3 times even!!
But, can you see understand why I would have been afraid?
Stayed tuned... this week for part III of Things I am Afraid Of and the rest of the story of Audrey. I know you can't wait!