"Transforming Lives Through The Love of Christ"

Reflections

My mother, Margaret Creange, died on Friday, March 22nd.  On Monday, March 25, we held a Memorial Service for her at Cornerstone Church in Wyckoff.  They were kind to open their church to us as our church, High Mountain, was just a bit too small to comfortably fit all who attended.  We are grateful for their hospitality and especially appreciative of Jon Frank who was a great asset and support for us. As a tribute to my mother we draped the pews with afghans she had made for family and friends.  She was an avid crocheter and made each one with love and care for the person she was creating it for.

Eulogies were given by my brothers Richard, Daniel and Michael as well as my nephew Daniel.  They were all beautiful and expressed a side of my mother that was honest and touching. Below is my eulogy.

Scripture: Matthew 25:31-40

31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.

34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

The Bible  tells us that “Man was made in the image of God”. Each person has worth and value.  Each person is imprinted with God’s image. We can’t always see it because a person may be hard to love; We  don’t always see it because we get too busy.  We won’talways see it because we may be holding on to anger or resentment.  

But Jesus says that the image of God is everywhere and in everybody.

The image of God is in:

1.  Those at the deepest level of poverty

2.  Those who are foreigners and strangers

3.  Those who homeless and in need of hand outs

4.  Those who in-firmed, disabled, hospitalized, institutionalized

5.  Those who are incarcerated

 It is in those:

Who have been beaten down, Those needing a touch; Those needing somebody to really care; Those needing compassion and understanding and love; those needing someone  to offer them a smile…a pat on the back…a word of encouragement…a little financial help

 And if you are able to do that;  If you are able to love the unlovely and care for the hurting and befriend the lonely and treat people as people and not objects or statistics…

  Then you begin to taste of the Kingdom of God because Jesus said “if you have done it to the “least of” these you have done it to me.”  And notice He did not put any conditions on it He didn’t say: “If it is a white collar job or If they are innocent and in prison” or “If they have been at least trying to get a job” or “If you fully know them and have them vetted” or  “If they ask nicely.”

 I believe He was saying the Kingdom of God is lived when you treat people well, with love and kindness and compassion.  Because in essence you are serving Jesus, sometimes…perhaps most times, without even knowing it. Jesus calls us to serve Him by serving others and being Jesus to them

  Several years ago we attended a class and were instructed to write down messages we received from our parents. What did we learn from our parents…directly and indirectly…by what they said and by what they didn’t say.  Here are three things I wrote down that I learned from my mother…there were others but here are three:

Service

Love   

Humor

      Regarding Service

    In many ways…my mother was more like Jesus than I am.  And in many ways she was a lot less Jesus than I am…

    Since I was a a little kid I noticed my mother was all about taking care of people and not just her kids and husband. Whether it was taking her mother in to live with us,  tutoring kids who needed help, making meals for family around the corner, talking to the kid who felt left out, opening our house and taking in relatives or taking in her kids friends who had trouble at home…There was always

more room at the table, somewhere to sleep (couch, floor, basement).   My father would say he ever knew who was eating over. He would wake up and he wouldn’t know who he would find sleeping there, sleeping on the floor or the couch.  I think my mother got this from her mother, my grandmother. My grandmother was always taking people into her house…Hungarian refugees who needed a meal or a place to stay or some clothes.  Our Uncle Alex told us that one day when he was younger he was standing in Journal Square and saw his favorite coat go by.

    But I didn’t have to ask if someone could eat over…We just assumed it was ok, there would always, somehow be enough.  The back door was always open. I talked with Theresa about this last night…people came in and out at all hours of the day and night.  

 Regarding  Love

    I am not saying my mother was always sunshine.  She could, at times, be gruff. I likened her to a  dish at a Chinese Restaurant… Sweet and Sour. But she told you what she thought whether you wanted to hear it or not.  Often times she had the “Mad Face”

which, unfortunately, I inherited. A few months ago I was sitting watching T.V. and Susan asked me what was wrong…I said “nothing is wrong.”  She said: “You look mad.” I said, “I’m not mad.” She said: “You have the “mom face” on.” I said, “That’s just the way I look.”

   But she loved and she FELT deeply.   I see that in her kids. We are all different….7 kids and 6 with STRONG OPINIONS….Janet just goes with the flow.   Over the last two months personalities all rose to the surface and the family came together….I am proud of all my siblings and in laws and nieces and nephews.  

    When I see the pictures of her and our dad I see how happy she was with him.  She was so happy being married to him. I now better understand why our house was filled with love.  Because they deeply loved each other.

    My mother ended every call phone call by saying  “Love You.”  It was not trite or mechanical.  She truly meant it.

Regarding  Humor

   The last two months were difficult ….At times she was in so much pain.  But she was a trooper. My cousin Mary said best….“Aunt Marge is one tough Broad”.  It is probably why she lived two days longer than they thought.  She was tough and she was funny…She had the ability to laugh at her self.   Here are four quick funny stories:

    The first one she actually wasn’t trying to be funny but it was funny.  One night, in the first few weeks while she was at the hospital I was there with Susan, Laura, Janet and I believe Peggy was there.  My mother said: “I have something to tell you;  I have thought about it long and hard.  After all that I have been through…all the pain and stress and worry….And all that I have put my children through, all the worry and concern…I have decided that when I go home….I am not giving up smoking.”  Well, we were on the edge of our seats but that wasn’t exactly what we thought she would be saying.  

     The second one had happened on the day after one of her procedures did not go well. She was in a tremendous amount of pain and I had spend the day at the hospital with her.  We thought there was a good chance that she would not make it. I was in her room with Michael and Michael was trying to make her feel better so he started to remanence about old stores.  He said: “Mom…remember when we were in Junior High School and Lars our neighbor was over and he got so sick and was throwing up all over the kitchen floor?”  And my mother said:  “Yeah Michael, that’s just what I want my last thought to be…me cleaning up Lars’ puke.” and then she pretended to die.  

     The week before she died, she was crying because she never thought it would come to this and she didn’t want her children to have to take care of her. She was very upset and we were all trying to comfort her.  My brother Michael tried to reassure her by saying: “Mom, you would do the same.  We want to take care of you. It’s not a burden, we want to be there.  These last six years you have been there for me. You have taken care of me.  And it wasn’t a burden to you, you wanted to take care of me, right? And my mother looked at him and said…”Well Michael, I hate to tell you, but…”  Then she laughed at herself.  

    The last story was from a week before she died.  It was a Friday afternoon and she said “Don’t come back tonight”  So I said:  “Mom, don’t worry, I am not coming back tonight.  But you will be coming home soon so you will see a lot of us.  We will all be there, taking turns taking care of you.  Again, she looked at me and said:  “Yeah, I think that’s what is going to kill me.”

    After one of the visits by cousins she said to me: Each and every one of them brought joy to my life and I hope that I have brought some joy to theirs.”

    Jesus came so we might have life…Joy…Happiness.  He came to show us the way of love. He came to serve…and teach us to serve others

    Mom….Grammie…Aunt Margie…Mrs. Creange…

     You taught us how to love.  You taught us how to laugh. You taught us how to serve Jesus.

Even when you didn’t know that making an Afghan for Tomorrow’s Children’s Fund was serving Jesus.    Or making extra food was serving Jesus. Or opening up room on the floor to sleep was serving Jesus. Not taking your medication so you can stay awake and call the nurse for your hospital roommate was serving Jesus.  And making a donation to various charities was indeed serving Jesus.

     “For if you have done this to them…You have done this to me.”

     And we hope to  carry on your legacy

     Bye mom….Love you.