I attended a funeral today. Going to funerals is not something that anyone looks forward to or enjoys. It is a sad occasion, even when the deceased is a Christian. We can rejoice knowing that our friend or family member is now with Jesus, but we mourn for our loss.
Patty Warren McMullan was a friend of mine. I have known her for about twenty years, give or take a couple. I did not realize it until today at the service, but Patty was twenty years older than me. She was young at heart, and did not act her true age, so I never realized there was that much of an age difference between the two of us.
Patty had been an acquaintance for several years, when she opened her home to a special group of ladies from Trinity Fellowship in 1992-1993. At that time, there were eight women who were either already divorced, separated or going through a divorce. Patty was divorced and had been for a number of years. But she had such a great empathy for the rest of us she wanted to do something meaningful for us. So a couple of times a month, we would all gather in Patty’s family room and after the teaching, she would love on us and offer us encouragement. She would tell us “you will get through this – look at me,” and she would smile her beautiful smile. Patty was right – we all got through it and eventually the need for the group was no longer there.
By the time the group disbanded, Patty and I had become good friends. We would go to lunch after church on Sundays or meet for dinner during the week every couple of months. The conversation was always lively. Patty was an intelligent woman and she had an opinion on every subject imaginable. Not only that, she had raised three sons and one daughter and she offered invaluable advice to this (at that time) single parent.
I have a butterfly sun catcher hanging in my office. There is a heart attached and engraved on the heart is “Live, Love, Laugh.” This reminds me of Patty because she loved life and lived it to the fullest, she was full of love that she lavished on others and she loved to laugh. Bishop David Epps shared today during the service that Patty said “I have always lived my life out loud.”
Patty, you touched many lives and those you touched will miss you. But we rejoice, knowing that you now live, love and laugh in heaven!