Tuesday, July 20, 2010
Bad news is never welcome. But it arrives, welcome or not.
On Monday I received an email from my pastor in Melaque that one of my expatriate friends had died.
Marie Greive was one of the first people I met when I started attending church at San Patricio by the Sea (photograph above). Her husband, Cor, served on the church board and was responsible for arranging Sunday services when our pastor was away for the summer season.
Well, not just the pastor -- most of the congregants. During the summer months our congregation would drop from about 140 to as few as 6.
But Cor and Marie were there every Sunday.
I would often see the two of them out for an evening stroll. They would always stop to chat. Marie would never fail to ask about Jiggs, and would then make suggestions on how I could make his life easier. I didn't see it at the time, but her ministry was to me. Trying to put my mind at ease for his inevitable death.
Marie was one of those women who forms the backbone of any organization. Quiet, almost shy, in conversation. But always very thoughtful and practical whenever she spoke. In that sense, her Dutch heritage was evident.
She may have been thrifty with words, but she lived her faith. When people needed assistance she was there. But she was always conscientious to act within the cultural context of Melaque -- where she and Cor chose to live.
I am going to miss talking with her every Sunday morning about my posts for the week. She was a faithful reader, always ready with praise -- and willing to correct me when I made a factual error.
But, more than that, I will miss her lessons on what it means to be a person of faith, living the gospels humbly and with open hand, minds, and heart.
We will miss you, Marie.