The Unoffended Life of Rose Charles

Ruth and I are participating in the Celebration of the Life of Rosé Charles at Millersville Mennonite Church. Rose died at age 42 on September 5, after dealing with cancer for 11 years.

Rose planned her funeral almost a year ago. She asked me to read Psalm 84 in the service.

Rose had wanted marriage and a family of her own but she did not become offended when this was not her lot in life. ( She is a living example of the ‘Forgotten Beatitude’ which is Jesus message to John the Baptist: “Blessed is he is not offended in me.”)

No, Rose did not become offended, rather she sought the “Lover of her Soul” and began to plan her ‘funeral service’ as a ‘Wedding Celebration’ (In fact she was buried in a wedding dress)

Ruth and I visited Rose in her home on a Sunday afternoon in mid July as we sensed that the time of transition to the next life was nearing. As we shared together that afternoon I had the thought, “How can Rose be dying when she is still so full of life and is so ‘life-giving’?

In this afternoon she told how that the day before she had gone para-sailing with a friend. ( She carried her oxygen supply with her in that she was having difficulty breathing. )

I asked her where she had gone in her para-sailing. She responded that she was 400 feet above where the river meets the bay (the Susquehanna meets the Chesapeake).

As she said this I sensed that this was a metaphor for ‘the river of her life meeting the great Bay of God’s eternal love and embrace.’

I asked her, “What was it like ‘where the river meets the bay’?”

She responded, “It was peaceful and tranquil. ”

I felt led to say at that point,” I believe God is saying that your transition from this life to the next will be peaceful and tranquil.”

And the passing was gentle as she passed from this life to the next surrounded by her family.

Rose was a beautiful example of one who allowed the dissappointments of life to make her more joyful and vibrant. She blessed and enriched the lives of multitudes. She taught us how to both live and die

I praise God for being able to participate in Rose’s wedding.


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