Amazing Grace

Alexander - Minneapolis, Minnesota
Entered on May 23, 2008
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: death
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“There is a funeral this Sunday,” my father turns and says.

“Probably,” I respond.

“Your cousin died.”

“Oh. Is mom going?”


“Am I?”


Upon hearing this affirmation, the rest of the car ride proceeded in silence.

Now it was Sunday and my grandmother was secured in the backseat.

“Colombia Heights,” a distraught voice from the back said, “Columbia Heights is over there. Why didn’t you turn?” My father continued to go straight.

“Mother, the funeral isn’t at Colombia Heights−it’s not the Church of Immaculate Conception. We are going to the Church of Abundant Life.” I chuckled at the names, thinking of some third church that could be the punch line to the first two. My father continued. “Margie wasn’t Catholic for the last part of her life. She was part of Billy Graham’s Church.”

My grandmother, a strict Catholic but a stroke victim dealt with the gravity of the situation by immediately asking if we got a new car.

“No I am renting this one for the week while mine is being fixed.”

Then we arrived and exited our rented space and entered another. The tented walkway gave more of an impression of a hotel of strangers than a church of family as we entered. Behind me, my aunt asks my father, “Do you know why we chose this location?”

“No,” he responds.

“Neither do I.”

Hello Dr. Something. I have not met your wife. Oh yes, I guess I have. How are you?

Helen, this is your sister Dolores. I’m Dorothy.

I hear standing in the Sanctuary Youth Restroom in the Kids Zone, a purple seahorse on the door. As I listen to these muffled conversations, more people mention the seahorse than each other’s names.

No we are walking into the amphitheater and I sit down in the front row. My eyes are on the picture of Margie on the screen in front of us. I have never seen Margie before this moment and her face resembles that of an actress who would play an important cameo role in a movie. Would I have cast her in my life?

It’s just my dad and I. Our backs are turned to the rest of our family by sitting in front. But then everyone else has their backs turned to the pastor in the back who later on called Margie a man by accident. I light incense for you Margie on the iron triptych, in case your God isn’t ours. I light one for you too pastor Someone. We rise. A woman begins to sing, and as we are told to embrace each other. We sing that the Lord is the Lord is the Lord. In its simplicity, that sentence brought us all to Margie, and in its complexity it made that church, filled with people that none us know, a religion that none of us believe except Margie, only a song that all of us know. One that sings Margie is Margie is Margie.