Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Godspeed, Betty

Last night I received a call from a friend up in Columbia: Betty Miller died Monday night.

Few obituaries convey the fulness of the person. And I know my little eulogy will fall short.

When Betty came to central Missouri and I met her, she was already a senior citizen. She had lost the husband and the love of her life, whom she had loved for many decades. But she was full of joy and hope. And she found another beloved soulmate, whom she married here. From Betty, I learned much about true love and commitment and hope.

I was blessed to be a part of the "Flamingoes" -- a group of five women who met twice a month for fun and chat and spiritual exploration. Betty was our oldest member, but also [it seemed to me] our most vibrant and optimistic. She had an ebullient sense of humor, always ready to laugh. When we met at her home, she delighted in the meals she provided and in the cocktail hour too.

Betty had a seeking, open, joyous soul. In her 70s and 80s, she dismissed the conservative dissidents in our church. She embraced the poor, the outcast, the rejected. She embraced gay and lesbian couples, accepting their love as just like her own. Betty seemed to love all God's creatures with a tenderness and ferocity that I can only admire.

Betty was a tiny woman with a great, huge, feisty heart. She loved me, when I was not sure my own parish loved me. She accepted me and my partner when our church did not seem to do so.

When I was with Betty, I sensed I was close to God. For it was clear to me -- it was palpable -- that she was on a first-name basis with God. Betty was a holy woman. It was clear to me that she walked and talked and laughed with God. And she probably told God the crazy things that some people were doing in God's name.

I haven't known many people I would call "saints." I haven't known many people whose lives were transparent with the Holy Spirit. But Betty was one. I shall not see her like again. She died in this world Monday night. I have no doubt that there was a great festival in heaven that night. Rejoicing in heaven, while we mourned our loss.

I believe Betty is now in God's heavenly kingdom, and I like to imagine what that's like for her. I bet she is awestruck at the glory of seeing God, now face to face. But I also bet she is hard at work, telling God and the angels about the people she treasures here still on this earth.

As luck would have it, my sister today reminded me of this song. I played it again and again. I think Betty would like it. More to the point, it reminds me of her - of her great faith, her great soul, her great compassion.

Play it here. An awesome rendition of Amazing Grace. (The server won't let me embed it.)

10 Comments:

Blogger Grandmère Mimi said...

Lisa, I'm sure that Betty is rejoicing and risen in glory. She sounds like a lovely woman. My prayers and sympathy for all who loved her.

9/24/2009 9:00 AM  
Blogger Riley said...

I'm sorry for the loss of your special friend. My prayers go out to all of her family and friends.

9/24/2009 1:00 PM  
Blogger Kirkepiscatoid said...

My prayers for your loss. She sounds like she was one of a kind.

9/24/2009 1:55 PM  
Blogger susankay said...

It is such a joy and gift to know someone like Betty. You will miss her more than I can know,

I too am lucky that way -- shouldn't say more since I have introduced Bev to the blogosphere and one never knows where she'll turn up.

9/24/2009 6:14 PM  
Blogger Fran said...

She sounds like she was extraordinary Lisa. I am so sorry for your loss.

9/24/2009 9:31 PM  
Blogger Lisa Fox said...

No doubt about it, Mimi. In fact, when I discovered your blog, you reminded me a lot of Betty. Same fierce love for God and God's people. Same impatience with the stupid conservatives.

9/24/2009 10:07 PM  
Blogger Lisa Fox said...

Thanks, y'all. You are right. Betty was sui generis ... much like our Mimi is.

Although I grieve my own loss, I cannot grieve for Betty. She's at home now. And I rejoice that she's there, with all the saints, praying for me and for all of us.

9/24/2009 10:09 PM  
Blogger Grandmère Mimi said...

Lisa, thank you, but you make me blush!

9/24/2009 10:20 PM  
Blogger Lisa Fox said...

No need to blush, Mimi. You are a treasure and inspiration to me.

9/26/2009 9:28 PM  
Blogger Lisa Fox said...

We celebrated Betty's life in the burial mass yesterday. It's hard for me know what to say. The love and joy were met with sadness at losing this dear woman from our presence.

It is hard to live in the Christian ethos, where we treasure those who are present with us, and miss and treasure those who have "graduated" to the next realm.

I hope you all have a Betty in your lives.

9/26/2009 9:31 PM  

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