Remembering Chuck

By Louita Clothier of Lamoni, Iowa, USA

Open your hearts and feel the yearnings of your brothers and sisters who are lonely, despised, fearful, neglected, unloved. Reach out in understanding, clasp their hands, and invite all to share in the blessings of community created in the name of the One who suffered for all… Respect each life journey, even in its brokenness and uncertainty, for each person has walked alone at times.  Doctrine and Covenants 161:3a–b

Anyone who knew Chuck Church was drawn to him by his big smile, cheerful personality, and optimistic outlook despite his lifelong physical struggle with the abnormal condition of his legs. He did not allow his circumstances to make him angry at life.

His parents treated him like other children. His strong faith; love of music; and steadfast wife, Eldeen, were all building blocks in his strength to overcome the condition that sentenced him to crutches and eventually a wheelchair.

Chuck had a glorious baritone voice. When our choir performed an Easter cantata, Chuck was the obvious choice to sing the part of Jesus Christ.

His voice still sings in my mind when I read the Holy Week scriptures. Chuck’s favorite solo was a rendition of the psalm “I will sing unto the Lord for as long as I live. I will praise the Lord while I have my being.”

Sometimes I felt that just struggling on his crutch-canes to his place to perform, he already had acted out those words.

In the end our friend, in his weakened condition, could not defeat cancer. The last time I saw Chuck, our congregation choir had gathered around the hospital bed Eldeen had set up in their living room. No one remembers what we sang, only that we did. But I clearly remember the words Chuck spoke at that time: “I’ll be just fine.”

In his heart Chuck was always “just fine.” He taught us that it’s not one’s circumstances that determine happiness, but attitude toward those circumstances.

Prayer for Peace:

Loving God, we bring our attitudes to you for your blessing. May we remember, those who are challenged may not always have a community of support and often walk alone. May we learn from those whose spiritual strength brings peace to the world.

Spiritual Practice for the Week: Honoring the Worth of All Persons

Read Psalm 139:13–18. After each reading sit quietly and let the deep meaning of the words sink into your mind, heart, and body. Sense the intimate knowledge God has of you and every child ever born. Ask God for an awareness of the sacred worth of each person on the planet. Weep with God over the soul-wounding forces and events that rob people of dignity and worth. How are you being invited to notice, protect, heal, and affirm the spiritual identity of all God’s beloved people today? Pray for God’s compassion.

Peace Covenant:

I will open my heart to the lonely, loving God, and share your peace with them.

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