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ANOTHER DAY IN THE COUNTRY: Saying Grace for Anna

© Another Day in the Country

I’ve been reading a book sent by a friend, written by a woman who had a near-death experience, “Dying to Be Me,” by Anita Moorjani. If you are a fan of public television or Dr. Wayne Dyer, you may recall hearing this woman speak at one of his seminars.

Back and forth to Abilene, as we drove to exercise, my sister and I took turns reading the chapters of the book. It stretches your soul to read a book like this and challenges your previous theories. It’s like finding a new definition of cooking, some wildly delicious taste sensation, heated and stirred in the same old pot.

The part of the book that comforted me most was the author’s perceptions as she was dying, wanting to speak to the loved ones gathered round who all were sad and grieving. She had lifted from her body and was feeling the most whole, loved, warmed, and exhilarated in her whole experience of life. She was safe. She was whole. She desperately wanted to tell them that so they would be comforted.

It was while I was visiting an old and dearly beloved relative that I thought of Anita Moorjani’s experience.

Here was my aunt lying in a hospital bed, eyes not really seeing us, ears seemingly not able to hear us, if I were to believe my senses; but what if, as she prepared to leave her body she could hear us all quite accurately. What if she could sense what we were thinking, hear her loved ones conversing with doctors down the hall?

What if she was indeed in a warm and gloriously protected place, returning to her soul’s home while her shell of a body was what we saw? Then my experience at her bedside should not be so sad as rejoicing. Isn’t that what Scripture says, by the way, that the day of our death should be more celebratory than the day of our birth? This lady who had long outlived her wishes for longevity by a couple of decades, could very well be finished with her earthly sojourn.

She’s always loved to sing with us, so now we sang for her, softly so that people out in the hall would not be disturbed, singing only for Anna’s ears, which by earthly terms did not hear all that well any longer.

As we sang, I remembered the farmland where Anna had spent so many years — most of her life, in fact, within a couple of miles of the home place — vast fields, rolling hills, over which she watched for storms. Long before we had “storm watch” or some television channel to warn us of impending doom, she knew what was coming. Today, on this afternoon, I imagine a young Anna walking in those fields again.

She always was a pretty girl, dark haired and slender hipped. Her hair blows free, her skirt skims the green grass in the pasture. The sky overhead is blue azure with floating clouds off toward the west where they’ve gathered. There’s rain in those clouds and they’re headed this direction. Maybe we’ll have spring showers, maybe wind, as Anna walks, her eyes on the sky first, the path in front of her next, and for sight of any early blooming flower.

It was always amazing, the tiny bouquets of flowers that she would pick and put in a tiny vase or pitcher to grace her table. Her gardens were never abundant with flowers; but if you looked carefully, there would be larkspur reseeding themselves, nasturtiums, and maybe marigolds. A stray petunia, some violets — she could make an arrangement out of almost anything. One of her greatest gifts was that she noticed things — the smallest thing in nature — she called out to all of us, “Oh, look there!” and we would train our eyes and peer into the distance to see what Anna saw.

I was doing that today, as I stood by her side, in the field of our imagining, coming up to the top of the hill, an horizon stretching as far as we could see — and her sight was always keen for those things at a distance.

It was another day, after having spent so many in this country, that I stood still out in the pasture while Anna walked away.

“At Anna’s gate the larkspur wait to hear a mockingbird. Footsteps on sod, the larkspur nod by Anna’s passing stirred. Though not for hire, the flowers conspire to grow where they are able. She’s stooping down, gathering them around, for grace on Anna’s table.” patwick 1994

Last modified May 14, 2015

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