Telling Pops goodbye was among the most unexpected and difficult moments of my adult life. We all know everyone will die eventually, but Pop was one of the rare breed of men whom I expected to waltz into Heaven, simply vaporizing from Earth like Enoch. Even right up until that day, I couldn’t fathom the idea that he would actually die. And yet he did, with the scent of a million assorted anointing oils always on his hands.
We All Wish We Could Share More
Pop had been our pastor since long before I was born. He performed my wedding ceremony in his own house. He was one of the first people to hold my newborn daughter. He spoke at my mother’s funeral. I have a great stories and memories of Pop, most of them of his deep wisdom; however, the most profound physical memory I have of the man was this little container of anointing oil.
Pop must have had ten dozen assorted anointing oils stashed somewhere. He carried a one-ounce glass bottle in his pocket wherever he went, and it was a rare trip when Pop couldn’t find someone who needed him to bring out that vial and be oiling up someone and praying over them. It was always half full of newly scented Frankincense anointing oil he’d been given from the Holy Land, or that he’d pressed himself from a batch of olives he’d grown on the parsonage property, or from some care package he’d been gifted from his congregation. There was never an empty vial, a nearly exhausted supply beneath its cap by sundown.
One Last Supper
I visited Pop’s widow not long ago. She’s a sprightly woman of 60 with a church of her own these days. She’s remarried, and recently began prayerfully and thoughtfully dole out the more precious and sentimental of Pop’s things to other ministers through whom she is confident Pop’s ministry will continue. After our dinner, she disappeared to her room, emerging just a few moments later. As I prepared to leave, she pressed her hand into mine, and I knew immediately what I held. It was Pop’s vial.
“Son, this was Pop’s” she said. “I want you to have it. I made the oil myself. You let me know when you need more. I know you’ll use it. He’d be proud.”
I hope he is. For now, I’m honored to have this vial. And I hope someday I’ll have need for the same stockpile of anointing oil. You can get the real thing now – genuine scents of Myrrh, and Pomegranate, or Hyssop. Quality online Christian bookstores carry most of them. If you get the chance you should own some, even if you never use them. Favour on you!