When They Prayed
FROM THE BISHOP DAVID GRAVES   I chose the theme of our 2023 Annual Conference session, “When They Prayed,” based on Acts 4:31: “And when they had prayed, the place in which they ...
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Memories of Mollie

February 15, 2016

Every now and then, when I have an extra 10 minutes in my day, I like to iron my pillowcases. I hear you. Who does that anymore? Well, me, for one. I think that’s because there is something about the smell and look of a freshly ironed pillowcase that moves me into happy memories of Mollie. She worked for my family during my growing-up years. Memories of Mollie are always pleasant.

She did everything well, but she was exceptional at two things. She ironed my clothes (and my pillowcases) and she made my bed beautifully, always fluffing up my feather bed so that I felt …each night when I hopped in…like a princess. She listened to gospel music as she worked, humming a constant low tune. When I walked past her, I noticed the menthol flavor of the gum she quietly chewed. We felt she belonged with us. She was family.

Mollie also made my sister’s bed and my parents’ bed. Her touch was magical. She took her time smoothing out the wrinkles, making very sure that the covers hung down evenly on all sides. The feather pillows were fluffed the way no one has ever been able to do it before or since. Mollie’s perfectly made beds and ironed pillowcases could have landed her a job in the White House, but she chose to spend her time with a middle-class family in South Georgia.

Thinking of Mollie today, so many years away from my school years, brings this contemplative thought: I never took time to know her. I was busy flitting in and out of cheerleading, spending the night with friends, going to Methodist Youth Fellowship meetings, and talking on the phone. I recall some conversations by my parents and older sister about Mollie’s troubles. Her struggles as a single mom and grandmamma. A daughter with difficult sons who always caused problems for her. But, at that time in my young life, I saw those problems belonging to someone else, confident that they would never happen to me. I was the girl with the princess bed and fluffy pillowcases. Surely life would never be cruel to a princess. 

But life moved on, and it was cruel. Unwanted hurts landed on my heart, often playing a troubled tune in my soul. The fluffed up pillows of my childhood
became pillows for my tears when my first husband abandoned our boys and me and when my second husband died of leukemia.

Without knowing how she did it, Mollie joined my parents in a team of three to provide security and safety for me. She taught me a lot even though we never had a conversation about anything.  She gave me silent lessons that I am only just now realizing. Her detail to attention serves as an incentive for me to take my time and do my best.

She taught me that making a bed correctly is just as high a calling as being a doctor. What matters most is that you do the best with whatever your job might be. She taught me that listening to soft gospel music is a great aid while you work. Mollie taught me to take time with what I am doing, to really get into the moment with the task at hand. I don’t even know if Mollie finished high school, but life taught her some beautiful lessons that she then passed on to me by her example. 

At some point after I married and moved away from home, Mollie went to heaven. I just know that she is the one who makes Jesus’ bed every morning and irons God’s robe when it gets wrinkled. Then, she moves to the clouds, taking great care to fluff them and make them perfect. One day I will see her again, and I hope I get to tell her things I never took time to say as I whizzed past her during my teenage years. I will make sure she knows what my young heart never said. I will thank her for her kind influence, hug her tightly and then say the words I should have said long ago.

Mollie, I love you.

The Rev. B.J. Funk, associate pastor of Central UMC in Fitzgerald, has written a book with 50 devotionals on grief based on her personal experience. “Grief is not a Permanent Condition: 50 Devotionals to Help You Through the Grieving Process” points the reader to Jesus and the hope found in Him. Visit www.bjfunkgrief.com for more information and to order. Email Rev. Funk at bjfunk@bellsouth.net.

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