I had a friend named Enid. Many years ago I worked in our rural community’s tiny library. One of our regular patrons was Enid, a woman who played the organ at the local funeral homes. There are not many people skilled in the playing of a pipe organ anymore and unfortunately, Enid’s talent was in demand. She always played beautifully at funerals.
One day, Enid came into the library after having played at another funeral. After a time, I thought I heard something among the book shelves and went to see if I could help her find what she was looking for. I found Enid crying. I offered her a tissue and a listening ear and she told me she had received a terminal diagnosis recently and as she’d played at this latest funeral she had realized, there was no one to come to her funeral. She told me her story then…how she had been separated from her birth family as a child because of economic difficulty. She was raised by a couple who had long passed away. Enid was a happy young bride and mother once, but then tragedy had struck their little family and the baby boy had died. Grief-stricken, Enid and her young husband struggled alone in their bereavment and had ultimately separated and divorced.
Enid never remarried and each year she celebrated the life of her infant, alone, on his birthday. Since Enid diagnosis, she had found out that her brother was living in the Upper Northeastern part of the United States. She wondered if she should try to contact him, since she was dying and would be unable to create a “meaningful relationship” with him.
All this poured out of the lady whom most of us knew of only as a talented musician. I listened to her story and prayed for Enid. She did not know the Lord and was in despair over her tragic life and impending death.
I began to share with Enid. I told her my story, how I’d been born to a drug-addicted mother and been taken into foster care by the time I was 6 mos old. I told her how I’d been forced on my mother’s ex-husband and how he reluctantly took me in. I told her how I had suffered abuse and neglect throughout my childhood and how despair had driven me to a suicide attempt when I was just nine years old. But I told her also of the day in 1979, when three days after Christmas I had “met the Savior” and how my relationship with Him had changed my life and given me love, peace and purpose. Most importantly He had given me Hope for a future with HIm in Heaven.
I told Enid of my own son who died when he was 14 and how my grief was tainted with joy in knowing I would be reunited with him in death. Enid listened, her tears stopped. She and I had shared our life stories with one another, right there in the public library. Enid and I prayed then, and Enid left that day a changed person. She had hope, joy, forgiveness and determination. She contacted her long-lost brother and they enjoyed a reunion in New York.
Enid died about two and a half years after her conversion and at her funeral, at the local United Methodist Church, all the people who had been blessed by her organ playing at their loved ones’ funerals showed up. There was barely enough room to fit them all.
I hope my story has been a blessing and encouragement to you, I like to imagine Enid as she is now, reunited with her son for all eternity, in the glow of the Presence of God.