Saturday, February 18, 2017

Miss Norma-memories February 18, 2017

I was on the way to spend the night by Miss Norma's bedside as her life was winding down in a hospice bed in the loving care of her dear daughter Milessa and Eric and the hospic staff-when word reached me that Miss Norma had entered the arms of God today, February 18, 2017 at 11:07 AM CST in Katy, Texas.

Those are the facts in the fast news world we live-less than 20 minutes later, The New York Times had "broke the story" followed by Fox News...Shattered our quite time with Miss Norma and her family-such is the world we live.

But those few words does not build a picture of the beauty of a soul, the bigness and vastness of a simple life cast into the public eye. Miss Norma and I first met on opposite sides of an issue that has divided the nation for over 43 years-an  issue made sunomonus to her very public name-Jane Roe, of the Roe v Wade decision in 1973.

 I would stand praying the rosary as a Baptist pastor on the sidewalks while she called the police from inside A Choice for Women- a local abortion clinic in Dallas, Texas. At the time I was a young Baptist pastor - the son of two parents and the grandson of two sets of grandparents all still married to each other- and pastored churches full of  white folks who also were kids from the same set of parents and grandparents and all very involved with extended families. Quite new to the abortion issue -when Planned Parenthood announced in 1992 they were brining an abortion clinic to my happy little Baptist town of Waco, Texas. Later when Operation Rescue came to Waco to focus attention on the new facility in 1994 they opened my eyes to a broader need to be part of the Church in the Streets and I found myself traveling to Dallas as often as I could to join them in front of the 13 abortion facilities in Dallas at that time and to stand with the Bishop of Dallas one Saturday a month for a public Rosary for Life.

I will always hold dear the transformation in Miss Norma and her friend Miss Connie, her conversion to Christianity in July 1995, being invited to offer the baptismal prayer at her baptism, and our journey together into the Roman Catholic Church-my family and I on August 15, 1998 in Dallas, and Miss Norma two days later August 17 in Dallas. I hold such fond memories of her bombshell announcement of desiring to "complete her journey of faith and come home to the Holy Roman Catholic Church" from my pulpit in Waco, Texas where she proclaimed Waco her Bethlehem and caused my church board to wonder if I would not be happier as a Catholic thus making Miss Norma the instrument of me losing my favorite job ever-giggles.

Over the years as our friendship developed, and especially after she moved back to Dallas, I had the privilege of taking her to Sunday lunch every Sunday for three years. We often found ourselves giggling over the thankfully not very well read book, More than these, A Call to Reformation-written by Ralph Ovadal (sorry can not bring myself to call him pastor) who in his 270 pages calling Evangelicals to abandon the pro-life movement because it was a secret wepon of the Vatican to pull Evangelicals away from Christ and into the Catholic Church-and his proclamation that Miss Norma and I would go to hell for becoming Catholic...Giggles-good times.

We were avid people watchers- I like to people watch-Miss Norma lived for it. The human race is so amazing-so much more than just white and married, with parents and grandparents all married and all to the same spouse they started with-they are funny, happy, sad, complicated, conflicted, nice, angry, upset, thoughtful-and millions of other aspects and feelings and actions each and every day. I no longer have a sense of agreement to the idea that we should all be the same, or that one part of the human race is any better than the other. God certainly seems to love variety and diversity and as Miss Norma and I watched and above all believed together that He seems to have a great sense of humor too. And He can be what we perceive to be slow to showing up in certain events, lives, and times. But, He is Good and worthy of our love and trust. We loved the art, the beauty, the poetry, and most of all the goodness in people all around us.

For the last twenty-three years some of my favorite times have been people watching with Miss Norma. The stories we filled out about the people all around us-such fun-so many giggles. So much opportunity to glory in the goodness of God to the children of men, all around us. Our long drives, our weekly lunches at Norma's Cafe off W. Davis in Oak Cliff, our visits to watch the tattoo artist in Bishop's Arts, our oldies blaring 1969-1974-we were purist, with both us singing loudly and badly along with every word...



Miss Norma took me out of myself and showed me who I was, could be, should be when no one else was around or looking-she made me a better me. She was my Miss Daisy and I her Great Gatsby in our Sunday hats and thrift shop jaunts. My Sundays will never be the same-love and peace Miss Norma-your darling man, Daniel.
I was on the way to spend the night by Miss Norma's bedside as her life was winding down in a hospice bed in the loving care of her dear daughter Milessa and Eric and the hospic staff-when word reached me that Miss Norma had entered the arms of God today, February 18, 2017 at 11:07 AM CST in Katy, Texas.

Those are the facts in the fast news world we live-less than 20 minutes later, The New York Times had "broke the story" followed by Fox News...Shattered our quite time with Miss Norma and her family-such is the world we live.

But those few words does not build a picture of the beauty of a soul, the bigness and vastness of a simple life cast into the public eye. Miss Norma and I first met on opposite sides of an issue that has divided the nation for over 43 years-an  issue made sunomonus to her very public name-Jane Roe, of the Roe v Wade decision in 1973.

 I would stand praying the rosary as a Baptist pastor on the sidewalks while she called the police from inside A Choice for Women- a local abortion clinic in Dallas, Texas. At the time I was a young Baptist pastor - the son of two parents and the grandson of two sets of grandparents all still married to each other- and pastored churches full of  white folks who also were kids from the same set of parents and grandparents and all very involved with extended families. Quite new to the abortion issue -when Planned Parenthood announced in 1992 they were brining an abortion clinic to my happy little Baptist town of Waco, Texas. Later when Operation Rescue came to Waco to focus attention on the new facility in 1994 they opened my eyes to a broader need to be part of the Church in the Streets and I found myself traveling to Dallas as often as I could to join them in front of the 13 abortion facilities in Dallas at that time and to stand with the Bishop of Dallas one Saturday a month for a public Rosary for Life.

I will always hold dear the transformation in Miss Norma and her friend Miss Connie, her conversion to Christianity in July 1995, being invited to offer the baptismal prayer at her baptism, and our journey together into the Roman Catholic Church-my family and I on August 15, 1998 in Dallas, and Miss Norma two days later August 17 in Dallas. I hold such fond memories of her bombshell announcement of desiring to "complete her journey of faith and come home to the Holy Roman Catholic Church" from my pulpit in Waco, Texas where she proclaimed Waco her Bethlehem and caused my church board to wonder if I would not be happier as a Catholic thus making Miss Norma the instrument of me losing my favorite job ever-giggles.

Over the years as our friendship developed, and especially after she moved back to Dallas, I had the privilege of taking her to Sunday lunch every Sunday for three years. We often found ourselves giggling over the thankfully not very well read book, More than these, A Call to Reformation-written by Ralph Ovadal (sorry can not bring myself to call him pastor) who in his 270 pages calling Evangelicals to abandon the pro-life movement because it was a secret wepon of the Vatican to pull Evangelicals away from Christ and into the Catholic Church-and his proclamation that Miss Norma and I would go to hell for becoming Catholic...Giggles-good times.

We were avid people watchers- I like to people watch-Miss Norma lived for it. The human race is so amazing-so much more than just white and married, with parents and grandparents all married and all to the same spouse they started with-they are funny, happy, sad, complicated, conflicted, nice, angry, upset, thoughtful-and millions of other aspects and feelings and actions each and every day. I no longer have a sense of agreement to the idea that we should all be the same, or that one part of the human race is any better than the other. God certainly seems to love variety and diversity and as Miss Norma and I watched and above all believed together that He seems to have a great sense of humor too. And He can be what we perceive to be slow to showing up in certain events, lives, and times. But, He is Good and worthy of our love and trust. We loved the art, the beauty, the poetry, and most of all the goodness in people all around us.

For the last twenty-three years some of my favorite times have been people watching with Miss Norma. The stories we filled out about the people all around us-such fun-so many giggles. So much opportunity to glory in the goodness of God to the children of men, all around us. Our long drives, our weekly lunches at Norma's Cafe off W. Davis in Oak Cliff, our visits to watch the tattoo artist in Bishop's Arts, our oldies blaring 1969-1974-we were purist, with both us singing loudly and badly along with every word...

Miss Norma took me out of myself and showed me who I was, could be, should be when no one else was around or looking-she made me a better me. She was my Miss Daisy and I her Great Gatsby in our Sunday hats and thrift shop jaunts. My Sundays will never be the same-love and peace Miss Norma-your darling man, Daniel.


I was on the way to spend the night by Miss Norma's bedside as her life was winding down in a hospice bed in the loving care of her dear daughter Milessa and Eric and the hospic staff-when word reached me that Miss Norma had entered the arms of God today, February 18, 2017 at 11:07 AM CST in Katy, Texas. Those are the facts in the fast news world we live-less than 20 minutes later, The New York Times had "broke the story" followed by Fox News...Shattered our quite time with Miss Norma and her family-such is the world we live. But those few words does not build a picture of the beauty of a soul, the bigness and vastness of a simple life cast into the public eye. Miss Norma and I first met on opposite sides of an issue that has divided the nation for over 43 years-an issue made sunomonus to her very public name-Jane Roe, of the Roe v Wade decision in 1973. I would stand praying the rosary as a Baptist pastor on the sidewalks while she called the police from inside A Choice for Women- a local abortion clinic in Dallas, Texas. At the time I was a young Baptist pastor - the son of two parents and the grandson of two sets of grandparents all still married to each other- and pastored churches full of white folks who also were kids from the same set of parents and grandparents and all very involved with extended families. Quite new to the abortion issue -when Planned Parenthood announced in 1992 they were brining an abortion clinic to my happy little Baptist town of Waco, Texas. Later when Operation Rescue came to Waco to focus attention on the new facility in 1994 they opened my eyes to a broader need to be part of the Church in the Streets and I found myself traveling to Dallas as often as I could to join them in front of the 13 abortion facilities in Dallas at that time and to stand with the Bishop of Dallas one Saturday a month for a public Rosary for Life. I will always hold dear the transformation in Miss Norma and her friend Miss Connie, her conversion to Christianity in July 1995, being invited to offer the baptismal prayer at her baptism, and our journey together into the Roman Catholic Church-my family and I on August 15, 1998 in Dallas, and Miss Norma two days later August 17 in Dallas. I hold such fond memories of her bombshell announcement of desiring to "complete her journey of faith and come home to the Holy Roman Catholic Church" from my pulpit in Waco, Texas where she proclaimed Waco her Bethlehem and caused my church board to wonder if I would not be happier as a Catholic thus making Miss Norma the instrument of me losing my favorite job ever-giggles. Over the years as our friendship developed, and especially after she moved back to Dallas, I had the privilege of taking her to Sunday lunch every Sunday for three years. We often found ourselves giggling over the thankfully not very well read book, More than these, A Call to Reformation-written by Ralph Ovadal (sorry can not bring myself to call him pastor) who in his 270 pages calling Evangelicals to abandon the pro-life movement because it was a secret wepon of the Vatican to pull Evangelicals away from Christ and into the Catholic Church-and his proclamation that Miss Norma and I would go to hell for becoming Catholic...Giggles-good times. We were avid people watchers- I like to people watch-Miss Norma lived for it. The human race is so amazing-so much more than just white and married, with parents and grandparents all married and all to the same spouse they started with-they are funny, happy, sad, complicated, conflicted, nice, angry, upset, thoughtful-and millions of other aspects and feelings and actions each and every day. I no longer have a sense of agreement to the idea that we should all be the same, or that one part of the human race is any better than the other. God certainly seems to love variety and diversity and as Miss Norma and I watched and above all believed together that He seems to have a great sense of humor too. And He can be what we perceive to be slow to showing up in certain events, lives, and times. But, He is Good and worthy of our love and trust. We loved the art, the beauty, the poetry, and most of all the goodness in people all around us. For the last twenty-three years some of my favorite times have been people watching with Miss Norma. The stories we filled out about the people all around us-such fun-so many giggles. So much opportunity to glory in the goodness of God to the children of men, all around us. Our long drives, our weekly lunches at Norma's Cafe off W. Davis in Oak Cliff, our visits to watch the tattoo artist in Bishop's Arts, our oldies blaring 1969-1974-we were purist, with both us singing loudly and badly along with every word... Miss Norma took me out of myself and showed me who I was, could be, should be when no one else was around or looking-she made me a better me. She was my Miss Daisy and I her Great Gatsby in our Sunday hats and thrift shop jaunts. My Sundays will never be the same-love and peace Miss Norma-your darling man, Daniel.

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