Goodnight and Happy Birthday, Dear Barb

June 15, 2013

Word came on Tuesday that a Healing Prayer Service would be offered for Barb Garlock, a long time member of Saint Francis United Methodist Church, and a former parishioner of mine. The note said that Hospice was being called in to minister to Barb in this passage of life. My prayers for Barb have been mostly in the night. I pray the Alphabet when I awaken in the night and have trouble going back to sleep: Ann, Anna, Anita, Anne, Barb, Brewer, Carole, and so the prayer goes. Zeh is at the end. Tonight, Barb is first in prayer. I pray she knows what the witness of her life has been. Barb had surgery for breast cancer and thought she was finished with cancer. But a couple of years after the initial surgery, the cancer metastasized to other parts of her body. What Cancer did not know was that Barb was a fighter, a champion of causes, a smart lawyer and a faithful follower of Christ. Not only did she have the illness to fight, she took on big insurance companies who were long on excuse and short on compassion. She rattled cages and battled the illness back over and over again. She raised her children and mixed and mingled with folks, always aware of a higher purpose. Even tonight I am trying to remember how long she has persevered. She and Saint Paul must be tied if perseverance were the contest. I have not talked with Barb, but tonight the words of an Easter hymn come to me. “The strife is o’er; the battle won.” At last leaning into the frailty of humanity, knowing that the fight is over and a greater battle won must be a bittersweet peace. If Barb had an ounce of fight and chance left, she would surely fight on. Instead of fight, she, on this day, her Birthday, is having a Reverse Birthday Party. Her friends will gather at her home and pick out something that reminds them of her and take it home that they might remember her always. Even without a gift from her house, it won’t be hard to remember Barb. Curly blonde hair, smile from ear to ear, sharp intellect, deep love of family, deep love of God. Thank you, Barb Garlock, for giving witness to the value of life that is worth fighting for. Thank you for showing us how to live, and now, how to die. Well done, Dear Barb. You have lived a full and complete life in your too short years. Your children and dear Deo have known great blessing in your gifts to them. I pray this time will be precious to you, that you will know great peace. I pray that you know your ministry has been inspiring among us. Thank you. Bless you. Love you. Happy Birthday and Goodnight, Dear Barb. Love, Lib

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June 19, 2013