COLUMN: I'm an ordained minister now, kind of

Sandy Turner

My inner circle has kept me sane since this pandemic began. No matter our views or vaccine status, we’ve been there for one another. I know I’m fortunate, but I don’t know any different.

Growing up a block away from my grandparents, Saturday mornings were spent with my mom, sister, grandma and aunt. We gathered at grandma’s in the morning, and more times than not, the rest of the day was spent going to garage sales, watching the adults make crafts or just hanging out.

Our lives are much busier now, but that doesn’t keep my two daughters, sister and niece from becoming the next generation of the fabulous five. Any time we can spend together we do, and it never fails to be a good time, regardless of what we’re doing. If one of us asks for help, there’s no question, we will all be there. It’s the best feeling to know I can be with these women and never have to worry what I might say or do. They are constant companions, even if I don’t see or talk to them every day. I just know they are there, and that’s my peace of mind.

Recently my niece asked me for a favor, which I wasn’t prepared for. She was getting married, in her home, with family only, and wanted me to perform the ceremony. I was elated to do the job but disappointed to find the only requirement to becoming an ordained minister was to hook up on the internet and pay 50 bucks. The least they could do was ask me if I believed in God.

The wedding took place in front of their fireplace and couldn’t have been lovelier – simple, serene and special. I’m not sure what I’m going to do with my Ordained Minister Certificate and ID card, but I was able to fulfill her favor, and that’s all that matters.

The five of us met for dinner recently, and there was an hour wait because of staff shortages. Instead of sitting in the lobby, we all piled into my nieces car and celebrated my daughters’ birthday. Scrunched in a car while it was zero degrees outside, the hours seemed like minutes as we poured out our concerns and compassion, in between bursts of laughter.

I had been telling my sister recently that my jaw keeps popping out of place and it happened while we were sitting in the car. I turned to her and said, “Did you hear that pop?” My niece thought I had turned to her mother and said, “Did you hear that Bob,” because she was telling a story about her work and thought my sister and I had decided to give each other nicknames. It wouldn’t have been funny except this behavior would not be out of the ordinary and could be believable that my sister and I would start calling each other different names, just for the heck of it.

Eventually our table was ready, and we sat in the restaurant for another two hours, talking and laughing. I looked around the table and couldn’t believe how lucky I am to have them all living close enough that we can be together whenever we would like to, while giving each other love and support all the time.

Not sure if an internet ordained minister can bless people, but if I could, it would be my inner circle who truly deserve special blessings.

Sandy Turner is a mom, grandma, former caretaker and retired journalist living in Missouri.

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