It is the Sunday morning worship celebration at Portland United Church – August 6, 2017. While I was sitting on one of the chairs at the pulpit, I sensed a presence that was unexpected – or was it expected?
I sensed that the late Councillor of our town, Mr. Doug Good, was present. I know he tragically passed away with his buddy, Mike Carty, this March 10, while I was in El Salvador; and I was not sure why was I having these feelings. I wondered and asked myself, “What is it that has me feeling this way?”. A few seconds later it came to me.
On August 4, 2015, while I was packing to leave for GC-42 of the United Church of Canada, about 8:00 a.m. in the morning, Doug Good knocked on our door asking if I can do his mother’s funeral, as she had just passed away overnight. I was heart broken to tell him that I was leaving for GC-42, but my colleague, Rev. Kathy Walton will do a great job, as she is the emergency contact while I am gone. Doug Good turned around and said, “That’s OK, you will do my funeral”. My response to him was, “No rush, we have a lot of work to do together”. Afterwards we had a quick chat about Deer Lake Airport, as he had done a lot of work getting that and many other projects going, for the government from coast to coast.
So, here I am in church, two years and two days after this conversation; without any scheduled reminders and I sense Doug Good with me at the Portland Church. Doug was one of the members of Portland United Church and he was always thinking about Portland and the community before thinking about himself. So, I thanked God in my heart for this reminder and continued the Worship Celebration rejuvenated and encouraged that our loved ones never leave us.
After church, as I was greeting everyone at the door; a beautiful blonde lady shook my hand and said, “It was great to be here”. I thanked her and of course, I did not remember who she was and I asked her, “Would you please remind me your name?” Her reply was, “I’m Doug Good’s sister, Frances…” I got Spirit bumps right away and I told her what had just happened during the worship service and we both cried.
Today, five days after this incident, I am thinking back and remembering that the Civic Holiday weekend was one of Doug’s favourite weekends. He loved hosting the BBQ Chicken dinner that the Portland Hall members put together every year, where we had a feast the night before the worship service (August 5) and his other favourite time in Portland is Skate the Lake at the end of January.
So, once again I am speechless at all these connections that have become evident to me in a few minutes of quietness at the Worship Celebration… Imagine how much more we can connect to if we only made time to be still.
I think the words of the Psalmist, “Be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10) are not in vain… It is in that stillness we get to realize that we are all connected and we are all part of the Universe.
Thanks be to God who is the Root of All Life and Maker of All Goodness. Amen!