Anne-Marie Funk ’20 MA

My beautiful 94-year-old grandmother, Dorothy, passed away in January, and one of the memories of her that vividly lingers with me is the story of how she met my grandfather.

She met the great love of her life, Bill, at an officers’ tea during World War II. Grandmother once took me to the exact spot in the ballroom on Coronado Island where she had first looked into the eyes of her handsome Navy fighter pilot.

Even while I envisioned Dorothy and Bill reunited again in heaven, my heart submerged into grief. The words from today’s gospel, “but Mary sat at home,” resonated with my sadness then, for mourning has a way of elongating time and sequestering one in darkened surroundings. I would lay in my bed with tear-filled eyes as I recalled Grandmother’s indomitable spirit.

I eventually ventured out of my home into the Boston winter. A gentleman asking for money caught my eye. As I picked up a coffee, I quickly purchased a gift card for him. Returning into the arctic blast, I took a step towards him, and we looked into each others’ eyes.

I was immediately enveloped by love and gratitude. “God bless you!” he exclaimed. “My name is Joshua. What is your name?”

“My name is Anne-Marie.”

“Anne-Marie! What a beautiful name! What does that remind me of? Oh, the Virgin Mary!”

“Yes, exactly! My parents named me after the Virgin Mary and her mother, Anne. Two great women.”

I offered him the gift card.

“I love you! I appreciate you!”

I winked back tears. “I love you, and I appreciate you too!”

Unlike Martha, I had not heard that Jesus was coming to me that day, but grief sometimes has a way of making space for grace and of opening our eyes to the mysteries that lie beyond visible realities. Will you leave your home and meet Jesus today?