Skip to main content
 Dear Friend,                    September 12, 2014
 Here is an article “Praying about my Death” by Rich Foss. I think you will appreciate it. It was published in the Bureau Valley Chief Tiskilwa, IL newspaper. Rich has been a mentor to me and a close friend and graciously granted me permission to share this with you.       
Peace,  Jim

Tiskilwa Plow Creek Boy
A Bureau Valley Chief column by Rich Foss

It was peaceful, two in the morning following Labor Day, and I was lying in bed, next to my sleeping Sarah, contemplating my passing. I suppose it was understandable, given the fragility of my health and the fact that Sarah and I had been to three memorial service in the previous nine days.

As I thought of praying about my death, I wondered, what do I want? How should I pray? Then it came to me. I wanted to pray for a peaceful death, not only peaceful for me but peaceful for Sarah, our children, friends, family-so many people who love me and that I have loved.

A peaceful passing seemed like a tall order, like an impossible dream, but what is prayer for if not for the impossible. Our Father loves to do the impossible for his broken and wounded.

Thus I prayed and it was a peaceful prayer and then I fell asleep. The next day, Tuesday, Sarah and I had lunch together. I told her about my thoughts and prayer from the night before. We shed some tears, held each other, and talked. Sarah said that it would help with the peaceful part if we went to a funeral home and made plans. I readily agreed and the next day she called the Fiocchi­Jensen Funeral Home and made an appointment for Wednesday.

 I printed out a one page sheet called Funeral/Memorial Planning that Cal Zehr, pastor of Willow Springs Mennonite Church of rural Tiskilwa had e­mailed me at my request earlier in the summer. A good friend and parishioner from Willow Spring, Dennis Zehr, suggested I contact Cal about getting the sheet.

That afternoon Sarah and I took the sheet with us for a late lunch at Kramer’s Kitchen in Princeton. We shared a delicious, eight ­inch chicken wrap and their fresh, homemade potato chips and talked through whether I wanted to be cremated or not (no) and where to have the funeral if the Plow Creek common building wasn't large enough. As we talked I was reminded of how for years Sarah and I went out to eat while we were doing our taxes. Neither of us are tax experts and we’d get tense as we worked through the complicated forms. Dining out helped us to relax.

Many a wag has said, “The only things certain in life are death and taxes.” I guess for Sarah and I the best place to talk about death and taxes is a nice quiet restaurant.
In our conversation, the moment I felt most emotional was when I said, “I’d like someone from Plow Creek to build my casket.” David Gale of Plow Creek Builders built caskets for a number of people over the years.

A few years ago one of our members, Michelle, was diagnosed with stage four cancer. She moved to Chicago to be close to her daughter her last couple of years. Since we knew her death was just a matter of time, David built her casket and stored it in our basement. Michele came for a visit before her passing and went to our basement to check out her casket. I remember her beaming in gratitude as she came up from the basement. There’s something about the love of a friend made real in the shaping of a coffin.

I’ll be buried in the Plow Creek cemetery. For a while I considered being cremated because I would be less of a burden, literally, as my ashes were being buried. But I’ve decided to go with a traditional burial. Many good things come from a few good people working together to bear the burden.

Rich Foss   Tiskilwa, IL


Comments

Popular posts from this blog

A Temper Tantrum

Dear friends: A Temper Tantrum On a shopping trip to Aldi’s I noticed a mother with a girl who was two and a boy who was one sitting together in her cart.. The boy was having a temper tantrum. I know how embarrassing that can be. Besides she was just beginning to shop. So I thought maybe I could help settle him down. So I went over and tried to talk to him. But he would have nothing to do with me. So I just started talking to his sister. “How old are you? What’s your name? How old is your brother? . “What is his name? She replied “Noah.” Hearing his name the boy started to quiet down and pay attention. After some more question and answers the kids and I shook hands and said goodbye. Then we both did our shopping. We passed each other several times. The kids would say “Hi” and wave each time we saw each other. Then as we went through the checkout the mother remarked, “Thank you so much, what is your name?” the kids waved saying “Goodby…

Outside the Box

Dear Friends,       Outside the Box I am here to share about making peace with Isis nonviolently. I came to this in my quiet time when I first heard of Isis. My response was, “I’m a pacifist so I prayed, “Lord, they are such bad people the only thing I know to do is get rid of them. Bomb them.” I suppose Jesus’ disciples, and many people today like me, might have had a similar response.
So I prayed, “Lord, I’m a pacifist. Show me Jesus’ way, there must be a better way.”Lo and behold I just happened to be reading pages in the book The Powers that Be where Walter Wink says “for every conflict there is a nonviolent answer” I prayed, “Lord, I don’t believe it, show me.” Then what came to me was we need first to understand what creates Isis support, why they hate us, what makes people join these terrorists, and to find a good solution. What if you went home tonight and your house looked like this?

(I pass out this picture of homes bombed by drones) And your family was killed by a US drone? Wo…

A Nazarene Peacemaker and a Thief

Dear friends, A Nazarene Peacemaker and a Thief 3/4/19 “Would you turn that mirror in on your side in so it doesn’t get knocked off.” said Juan to me. He then added “I have to tell you a story about that mirror. I was at a stop light and a guy come up and just broke off the mirror. I saw police nearby so I told them.” “They went and found him and brought him to me. They said to me, well here he is you can hit him or do whatever you want with him. Beat on him as much as you want. I said I don’t want to beat on him. That just didn’t seem right. They then called and another policeman who also said go ahead beat on him this is your chance. That might straight him out.” “They then got a commander who brought a bat and said well now you can beat him go to it. I than talked to the fellow and found he was very poor and stealing things as a way to survive. So I felt he was already in a deep in a hole. I didn’t want to push him any deeper.” “The pol…