Thursday, June 30, 2011

Mary Lynn

A really precious Austin friend has passed on. Everyone should be so blessed to have a Mrs. Harr in their life--her friendship has left an indelible imprint. Some thoughts and recollections:

The Heart of the Matter (from Parent's Corner, Chimes newsletter 1/08)

When I first met Mrs. Harr, I thought of my time with her as a kind of gift, meaning, I would give to her. She is elderly and, having suffered from MS and other numerous ailments for decades, she is mostly bed-ridden. Most of her family has pre-deceased her, and she lives in a small, sparse (but cheerful) subsidized apartment. From the surface, she seems to have nothing and be in need of everything, so my husband Jeff and I would try to stop by for a brief visit, bring her meals, etc. What started out as a relationship based on our giving, in turn, became a treasured friendship and a lovely us.

We discovered that Mrs. Harr uses her joyful spirit to share God's love with those she encounters. She uses her sorrows to do the same. Once, concerned about how Mrs. Harr would spend a holiday, we learned she would spend her day with strangers, by volunteering for a suicide hotline. Also, with hardly a new nightgown or robe, she willingly gives her "widow's mite" to those more in need. On one occasion, I overheard her speak to another stranger, a delivery person, about the comfort of knowing God. Her comments to this young man were not patronizing, rather, they were gentle, pure and true. I have many other Mrs. Harr anecdotes like these. She has personally encouraged me (and Jeff) through many life seasons. Currently, she calls on a regular basis to sing "Jesus Loves Me" to our son. Have I painted a picture of this precious woman? I hope so.

Add to your image a splendid smile, a healthy sense of humor, and an affinity for music by Rod Stewart and Flock of Seagulls (Mrs. Harr adores the 80's)! This woman with seemingly little to offer by modern standards is truly a masterpiece of God's creation. I'm so glad to know her, and through her, to further learn the lesson that it is a good and imperative thing to look beyond appearances. I want my children to know this, too. May we all seek to look at the hearts of those around us. And, may we be surprised by what incredible beauty we see.

Mary Lynn and MJ

Mary Lynn Harr. MS patient for years, which meant countless other ailments over the course of this disease, frequently bed-ridden, at other-times wheel-chair bound. But, when her body let her, full of spunk. When Michael Jackson passed away, she told me her Thriller story. It was some kind of Thriller anniversary and Mrs. Harr decided to roll herself to the event happening at the drafthouse cinema behind her apartment complex. Everyone was to wear a white glove. She couldn't find one, but didn't want to miss out. Medical latex glove to the rescue... Lights, action, time for everyone to dance and sing-along. She waved her latex-laden hand in the air like she just didn't care. She said she made so many wonderful friends that day. That was she rolled.

We'll miss and love you always, Mrs. Harr. You rocked our world...

walk on

"Not everyone is able to walk, but most people can, which makes walking one of the most easily available spiritual practices of all."

"Where you are going is not as important, as counter-intuitive as that may seem."

"'I began to feel at peace in my body again after being very angry that it had let me down,' the woman explained."

There's more greatness in Taylor's delighting, insightful An Altar in the World. A worthwhile read. I love the story about this particular woman, and her comment resonates with walking (poquito running some of it, because my friend Michelle "made me") a half-marathon last year. I was super tired (like almost all the time, from PCOS and thyroid stuff--on the mend now, and neither condition is comparable to the immeasurable hardship the woman in the book went through, but, for me, it was a frustrating time) and I felt that I just needed "to cross a finish line." So I signed up for a race, conveniently in NoCal, so I could walk near sweet wineries with sweet Michelle.

The finish line was, of course, fabulous. The best part, though: the walk.

From FB notes 6/14/11