Friends, this is the time of year when the pastor and his wife are very, very busy, so I will be taking a break between now and around New Year’s Day. But I had to post this poem at Real Toads’ Open Link Monday and at my poetic oasis, Poets United. This event happened today… it reminded me that there is so much to be grateful for, even as the nation mourns this week’s gun violence.

Take a moment to hug your kids and PLEASE let them know that, no matter what their friends say on Facebook, the world is NOT coming to an end on the 21st. I’m serious – kids are committing suicide and having panic attacks over the Mayan stuff. OK, a poem, like I promised!

MARIAN, MERLIN, AND ME

Marian
in her twilight years, and yet
the youngest soul in our church

Merlin
beloved husband, now at peace
and Marian said, “Amy, please play”

Singer
behind the piano at the funeral home
with songs, all familiar to this jazz baby

Gospel
to Anne Murray and “Wing Beneath My Wings,”
closing with “My Way”

Marian
said, “I want lively songs for Merlin,
no ‘old rugged’ anything!”

Merlin
left words to live by: “Pace yourself,”
“Nothing’s worth getting that worked up about.”

God
take Merlin into your arms and
shelter Marian’s strong but wounded heart

© 2012 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil

I was honored to be asked by Marian, our favorite “praise band fan” at Lake Edge UCC in Madison, to play for her dear husband’s funeral. When I found out what she asked for, I was amazed. A really rocking gospel tune I had written, “Closer Than Close,” and “My Way,” delivered in the Sinatra style: uncompromising and rousing…

I am blessed to know this woman, who wanted a true celebration of her husband’s life, and twice blessed to minister with my husband, Lex. In the midst of the tragedies of the past weeks, there was something about being at a funeral where people were free to tell funny stories about Grandpa, or free to tearfully say that none of her friends at school even HAD a great-grandpa and how lucky she was to have known him… All of it, the tears and the joy, echoed by the baby grand. As ABBA wrote, I say to God: “Thank You for the music.” Blessings and peace to you all, Amy