Pastor Don Wolan

Pastor Donald Wolan
Downriver Christian Community Church
Melvindale, Michigan

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Roll Call!

Make a joyful noise unto the Lord!
Psalm 100:1 KJV

On November 29, 2011, I went to visit my uncle at the Applewood Nursing Home in Woodhaven and "stumbled" into one of those "coincidental" encounters. Let me explain what happened. I picked up a hot Dunkin Donuts coffee for me and my uncle and then went to the nursing home for our weekly visit. As sometimes happens, I could not find him in one of the many resting spots he frequents. As I checked all the rooms I thought he might be in, I finally found him in the cafeteria. He was on his way out of the room in his wheelchair and greeted me as I stood in the hallway. I asked him if there was a different room we could go to to have our coffee and talk because all of our other normal meeting rooms were filled with people. I asked him if we could go back into the cafeteria to meet, but he told me that there was a "religious" service that was going to take place. I told him I did not mind attending the "religious" service in the cafeteria if he didn't mind going.

Once inside the room, I was informed that the "religious" service was a memorial service for one of the residents from the nursing home. To my surprise, the service was for a woman I had met previously while visiting my uncle in the past. The woman's name was Minnie, and I had written a blog about her entitled Minnie from West Virginie in July of 2011. In the blog I detailed my visits with her and her enjoyment of singing country gospel songs. Her favorite country gospel song was When the Roll is Called Up Yonder, and she had a remarkable story that accompanied her liking of the song. Since Minnie was handicapped and was in a wheelchair, she couldn't get around very well, but she definitely liked to sing her favorite song.

Someone had once given her an harmonica and had placed it in one of her horribly arthritic hands. She couldn't play a lick on the thing, but she sure would blow into it and make a "noise" when we got together to sing. She enjoyed playing her harmonica and singing, and she related numerous stories to me about when she was a little girl in West Virginia and how she used to attend church frequently.

I was sad and disappointed that it was Minnie who had passed away, but then again she was in her 90s and suffered from many debilitating diseases. Minnie had died the day after Thanksgiving after being in the nursing home for many years.

Minnie was a Christian and often attended the "religious" services held weekly at the nursing home. She constantly had a smile on her face even though I knew she was in terrific pain. I'll miss her warm friendly greetings at the back table whenever I visited my uncle and her glowing radiant face every time I would start singing When the Roll is Called Up Yonder.

When the service began for her, the people comprising the "religious" worship team for the service were probably as old as Minnie and almost in as poor of condition. The piano player was a woman in her 90s, but she pounded those piano keys like Jerry Lee Lewis in his prime. On guitar was a man in a wheelchair who was very good at the guitar. He had picked up music while listening to a piano player. They was accompanied by a woman in a wheelchair, playing a tambourine off beat, but with a lot of emotion and spunk. The lead singer was a much younger woman, probably in her 50s, who wrote a song especially for Minnie and who sang with a southern accent. The four of them led the rest of us in a couple of off-tune hymns, but everyone sang with gusto and in honor of Minnie. I was actually quite impressed with their playing and simple effort at honoring one of their own whom they loved dearly.

During this time of the holidays, it is very easy to get caught up in all the commotion of the season with shopping and the numerous preparations that have to be made for different gatherings. It is easy to overlook the simple things of life and to forget to be thankful for them. Minnie, thanks for the many wonderful memories because you are going to be sorely missed and your joyful presence never forgotten! You've fought the good fight and you've finished the race. And now you can look forward to your eternal reward. And, Minnie, I know your name is on that roll! 

Stay Holy, My Friends!

Pastor Don

1 comment:

  1. Part of "True Religion" Jesus said was looking after widows. God Bless You Pastor Don for spending time with Minnie during her final months and encouraging and prying for her.


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