Here’s Virginia’s story and you will see that EVEN MORE PEOPLE fit in her purse:
“On Monday, August 15th, my beloved father will have been dead for nine years.”
“The last sermon he preached, just days before his unexpected death, was on these words from Luke: Make purses for yourselves that do not wear out, an unfailing treasure in heaven, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
I’ve been thinking about those words a lot lately, partly because, especially near this time of year, I think about last conversations and words with him and partly because we are at that part of our lectionary, but mostly because it’s been a really tough summer.
A big part of the reason it’s been tough is because a desperate man in a very desperate act, attacked me as I walked home and stole my purse. It was brutal and unbelievably scary. He physically hurt me bad, but it could have been so much worse. He took my little, navy blue, nylon purse, but he didn’t get my real purse (which I firmly believe is also blue – my favorite color)!
My real purse is overflowing and it stayed with me, unable to be touched by him. That purse is spilling over because it holds people like the women in this photo, taken just a few days before, who immediately surrounded me with love, support, and kindness (as did so many others).
Immediately after the attack God put a new person in my purse. A precious young man who came to my rescue just moments after I began to try and continue walking home. He climbed into my purse and held my hand while he called for help. Then he scooted over so that one of the paramedics could get in my purse as he convinced a different hospital to let me come there because it would be much, much more convenient for me than where he was supposed to take me. My aunt was already in my purse, of course, but she popped her head up to be with me in the emergency room and beyond. Then, just a couple of weeks later, I popped my head up out of her purse, when her son, my beloved cousin, died, tragically, at the age of 37.
Life can be tough and the connections we make and the treasures we store up where no thief can get them, make all the difference.
Here at the end of a hard summer, I think of my parents and the treasure in our home purse.
I’m also reminded of another set of words from that August nine years ago. Just days after my father’s death, my grief stricken mother stood in front of the church and said, “I am sad beyond measure but I will be OK and my children will be OK because we did not build our house on sand. Our house is built on a rock.'”
After a really hard summer, Virginia says, “I‘m standing on that rock, with my beautiful (blue) purse overflowing. And I’m grateful.”
And to that I say AMEN.