It Was Perfect
Where I grew up in East Texas my dad had attended an old one room school. On a shelf above my bed for years I had this amethyst stone which I had found when I was little digging around the ruins of the old school. It was a rough edged purple looking rock but you could see through it. The thing is that it looked different every time I picked it up because of the all the crags, fissures and bumps. The sun would strike it at a certain angle and change its looks. I kept it not because it was something of great beauty or value but because to me – it was perfect.
Today we come together because Lorena Katheryn Platt decided that today would be a good day to get together – and no one here is going to tell Kathy – especially me – that we aren’t going to get together – today.
In many ways my friend is very analogous to my amethyst stone I treasured. According to how you looked at her you saw many things.
Her parents saw their baby. Her siblings saw the youngest of eight children. Her sisters saw someone whom they could steal her jewelry. Her husband saw a beautiful individual who he didn’t compare to anyone else. Her daughter saw a very singular and special mother. While her granddaughters saw simply Drae. A woman who was fiercely loving, maniacally protective and not afraid to tell them very bluntly when she felt they were doing something – not to her standards. She was loyal to her friends. The church saw a servant. But like the stone she had her flaws but like my stone we didn’t care because to us – she was perfect.
Born in New Iberia, Louisiana in August of 1933 she found herself in the heart of a Cajun family which meant – chaos. She feared when she met Don her future husband that chaos might well destroy the beauty of a relationship she craved when her sister Blackie walked into the room as Kathy and Don were sitting on the couch. Seems innocent enough except that Blackie didn’t just have her clothes on with the wrong side out but they were on backwards. And there was just the slightest hint of alcohol in the air. As Kathy looked in fear toward her future – Don simply leaned in and said, “Don’t worry. I know you aren’t her.”
Kathy was a very noble woman full of integrity. Like the first reading when Judas Maccabeus took up a collection to send to Jerusalem to pray for the fallen soldiers. He didn’t do it for himself. Kathy was one who did the right thing even if no one was looking. It was who she was. She didn’t take the easy path just because it was there. She took on the duties of what at times is a very demanding ministry – our Receptions ministry. She didn’t do it to garner any special praise. She did it because she felt it was the right thing to do. To minister to those who had suffered a loss like she had suffered too often in her past. It would have been easier to avoid the reminder of those losses. It just wasn’t who she was. Many times she took the more difficult – but right path.
There is a suddenness to life. Like that shock to babies as they suddenly are thrust from the mother’s womb into the glare of the world. The falls we take aren’t bad but the sudden stop at the bottom will get your attention. The suddenness of looking across a room and into the eyes of the one you will love forever.
Kathy’s leaving us took on an element of suddenness also. Many here today may not have even known she was sick or in the hospital. Then, suddenly you hear that someone so dear has transitioned away from us. So, we grieve the loss of our friend or our family. But we don’t grieve as those who have no faith and believe that her leaving is good bye. We grieve the loss of her touch, the wry smile, the constant smirk upon her lips and the wisdom shared with those who seek it. But like as our second reading states, we grieve with hope. Knowing we will see her again when our time comes to transition to our new home.
We have that hope because of the sacrifice of a young man some 2000 years ago who knew suddenness also. From entering into the city to cheers and hosannas to one week later being tried and convicted in a mock trial, beaten and made to carry a cross up a hill where he would be nailed to it to die – and yet he did it for love of us; he did it for the same love that Kathy felt for us. When he was laid in the tomb everyone thought that his life had been forfeit.
But then something amazing happened. Three days later he came forth from that tomb triumphant over death – the only thing that could keep us from seeing Kathy again.
Last night at the vigil Robert chose a beautiful Gospel reading from John. In it we hear Jesus tell us that in his father’s house there are many dwelling places. If there were not, would he have told us he was going to prepare a place for us? And if he goes and prepares a place for us, he will come back and take us to himself so that where he is we also may be. Such a beautiful example of the promise. Kathy, or Drae, has gone ahead to prepare a place for us. So, when our time comes she will be there to gather us in. Especially her girls. I know I look forward to that day and seeing my princess again.
We spoke earlier of how quickly Kathy went from the Kathy we all knew to that tiny little body lying in that hospital bed almost unrecognizable hidden behind that great big oxygen mask. She struggled in her last days just to do what we all take for granted – to breathe.
Today, we celebrate the fact she no longer struggles to breathe.
Today, as we heard in the Gospel of Matthew, she has traded her yolk that burdened her last days here. Today she rests easy as Jesus has taken the burden from her and now bears it himself. She rests in the company of all those she had lost; her family, her husband Don and her precious granddaughter Danielle. And she awaits us.
But if somehow I could give this family one more day with the one known as Drae, I think I would ask God to allow a time when Don and Danielle were here and healthy. A time when all that Cajunicity would be in full swing. Where the party would begin in the back yard spilling throughout the house, into the front yard and into the street and our princess would be ruling the roost, cracking the whip and telling everyone just how it’s going to be.
Because like the stone I found so long ago Kathy was many things to many people – mom, Drae, sister, Auntie, friend, princess – it was how you looked at her.
But in the end, just like the stone, she was what she was – perfect.