This morning just before leaving for church we learned of the calling home of a member of our former church, a dear friend. It was a surprise and it wasn’t. We’ve known for some time that she was dealing serious health issues, even while we were still at that church. Even with all that, just bringing her image to mind causes a smile. It’s was something she was always doing…smiling…no matter what the situation. And she enjoyed bringing smiles to other’s faces, too.
Occasionally during our evening service, I would ask for favorite hymns from the congregation. If Irene were there, I could count on her requesting “Make Me a Blessing.” It is what Irene wanted to be and indeed was to many people. We heard a few stories about her younger years and knew that she could be cantankerous at times. Some thought she still was. I say that with a smile on my face.
At the end of one of our services I was speaking with people as they left the church. Irene came up and I said, “Goodnight, Irene.” Immediately I recalled the old song of the same title first recorded by American blues musician Huddie ‘Lead Belly’ Ledbetter in 1933. I mentioned that to Irene and it became our “inside” joke.
A line of that song comes to mind now. “Goodnight, Irene, goodnight Irene I’ll see you in…” Now the rest of that line is “my dreams.” Good for the song, but not for Irene. You see, Irene is with the Lord now, the One she asked to save her long ago and make her a blessing. Her request was abundantly answered.
Paul’s comment also comes to mind. “So we are always confident, even though we know that as long as we live in these bodies we are not at home with the Lord. That is why we live by believing and not by seeing. Yes, we are fully confident, and we would rather be away from these bodies, for then we will be at home with the Lord” (2 Corinthians 5:6-8). Irene completely understands that now.
So no more goodnight Irene, now it’s “…I’ll see you in heaven.” Enjoy the eternal joy, peace, and blessing your Lord has waiting for you. We’ll see you in a little while.