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November 16, 2014, 1:00 PM

Diane Robenski -- Funeral Homily -- By the Rev. John Heidengren

It’s hard to say goodbye to such a good friend.

I’m not ready for Diane to go home!  I’m not ready to go without her smile and her kind words and her encouraging presence.  I’m not ready to go without her servant spirit – always looking for ways to help others.  For years she helped set the tables in the church for luncheons and dinners, then recently began the ministry of setting the Holy Table in church for Communion.  It was never beneath her to do the dishes, sweep the floor, gather up leftover service leaflets, coffee cups or water bottles

She served on Vestry – helping lead and guide the vision of the church.  We would often review the agenda before a meeting and she knew just how to approach each issue.  She was the Senior Warden during some very difficult times – and handled conflict with grace and patience and wisdom.  She had such an incredible attention to detail – she always knew just who to call when something happened in the parish.

She loved serving the local clergy – even before she joined their ranks.  For many years she put on a magnificent 5-course breakfast for each monthly clergy gathering, a gorgeous table, centerpiece and candy dishes, home-cooked hot entrée, all done with humility and joy..  She visited our Shut-ins and hospitalized with such a caring and compassionate spirit – lifting their day and serving communion to strengthen their spirits – bringing them comfort, peace, encouragement and love.

I’m not ready for her to end her time as a Deacon – which she barely started.  She spent almost ten years in an ordination process she never felt worthy of – never saw ordination something to be grasped or something she was entitled to.  But she kept at it – through all the courses and internships and evaluations – and finally made it through.  I remember her practicing saying “The Gospel of the Lord” and then remember that she did it so well!  I remember her practicing “Go forth into the world, REJOICING in the power of the Spirit” – she was so excited about sending out our congregation to do the work of the Lord!  She was so hungry to study the Word of God and shared so much wisdom and insights with the groups she led.  Many of us believe she served as a true deacon for years before she was ever ordained.  .  It was her nature – to serve rather than be served

She would so often come in early and stay late when she was Parish Secretary – always going the extra mile, never looking at the clock or saying “it’s not my job”.  She was such a cornerstone to the church – helping coordinate so many details of so many ministries and events – and she was always such a good listener.  She was a master at organizing funerals – and always produced a lovely funeral leaflet.  She assisted me in dozens of funerals.  I never imagined doing a funeral without her. 

I’m not ready to miss her great love for her family, Alex, Deidre, Don and all the rest she would regularly visit and pray for. 

I’m not ready to miss her great love for her church family – she was such a support to all of us at Prince of Peace through all the adventures and challenges we’ve been through.  .  I’m not ready to go without her kindness & generosity to my own family – she was like a part of our family – our kids called her “DI-DI” when they were little and she loved it.  .  I’m not ready to go without her compassion for those less fortunate, her warm welcome of every visitor and newcomer, and her love for animals and pets.

I'm not ready to say goodbye to Diane.

Maybe you know what that feels like.  We've all lost loved ones in situations where we believed they left us too soon – we were not ready to say goodbye.  A child dies before US, or someone who was just ordained had their ministry snatched from them. .  But Diane now has a new ministry in a new place serving others and serving the Lord.  A reminder that our mission really just begins in this life and is fulfilled in the next! 

I'm not ready to say goodbye to Diane.

I know many of you feel the same.  We’re feeling profound grief and we’ll miss Diane tremendously.  Jesus brings us words of comfort when He says in John 14: “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me.”  Like the popular Christian song says, “Earth has no sorrow that heaven can’t heal.”

I’m not ready for Diane to go home - but Diane was ready!

She understood that it’s not what you DO that gets you into heaven, but WHO you KNOW.  Diane asked Jesus to come into her heart and be the Lord and Savior of her life.  She asked Jesus to forgive all her sins and make her His child and give her the inheritance of eternal life.  Now she has that inheritance.  Diane was made for heaven – and now she is home.  Diane was ready!

As I visited Diane during her last week on earth, it seemed that she already had one foot in heaven.  I mentioned that to a parishioner who said: “Diane has always had one foot in heaven.”  Jesus says in the last book of the Bible: “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me.”  Diane heard Jesus knocking and opened the door of her heart.  Jesus came into her heart & now they see each other face-to-face.  And now she’s at the Banquet Table of the Lord. 

Jesus also says, “I am going to heaven to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.”  Two days ago, Jesus took Diane to be with Him forever.  Diane was ready.

She always showed such humility – so sure she didn’t deserve heaven, and so grateful for God’s free gift of eternal life.  Diane had a special way of saying the name Jesus.  Just hearing her say the name of Our Lord – you knew they had a special relationship

There was once a little girl who was asked how she knew when someone loved her.  She said: “When they say your name – it sounds wonderful – your name was safe in their mouth”.  That’s how the name of Jesus sounded when Diane said it.  It was special – and safe in her mouth.  She witnessed her love for Jesus – just by saying His name.  .  Now she is saying His Name to Him face-to-face, safe in His arms, finally home, hearing those wonderful words “Well done, good and faithful servant.”

I’m not ready for Diane to go home – but Diane was ready.

I think she would want us to ask ourselves, “Are we ready?”  The Lord knocks on the door of our hearts.  Many of us have opened the door and one day will walk through and go home to be with Jesus.  Perhaps some of you have not yet opened the door of your heart to Jesus.  You may hear the knock, but are still deciding what to do.  You’re not sure if you want to give up control of your life and let Jesus into your heart.  Diane would say: “Don’t wait until it’s too late. Don’t ignore His gentle knocking”.  Give the Lord permission to come in to your heart and you’ll enjoy the blessing and peace with God that Diane shared. 

Lord, thank you so much for Diane!

May her life, her devotion to You, her service to others, her love for Your Word and her commitment to family and church help us in our journey in the days and years ahead.  May her decision to open her heart to You as Savior and Lord be a choice we all make – that we might follow her home and see her again when we join You in Resurrection glory. 

Amen.


Please feel free to leave your own thoughts and memories below.  Longer peices may be submitted to fr.bob.richard@gmail.com.

If others would like to get directly to this page, the webpage link is http://pop-church.com/page/blog.



Comments

03-31-2015 at 11:46 PM
Eli sokolovich
I met Diane when I was a teenage boy who had a troubled upbringing. she and her family took me in and made me feel at home. they fed me, clothed me provided me with material things like Christmas gifts and vacations and also provided me with emotional things like love and understanding. I called Diane mom. I thought of her as my mom. Ive never known anyone who could love so easily as she could. she was so very warm and caring. Diane and her family made me feel at home when I didn't have one. for that I will forever be grateful. I will never forget the positivity in her attitude, the grace in which she carried herself. She made me feel wanted even when I know that I was a handful. Diane was the one person in this world that nobody could even think of an unkind thing to say about. She put you first. She loved you more. She loved unconditionally. She was funny. Never made me feel anything but good about myself. just being around her made me want to be a better person. She taught me what a mother was and how a mother was supposed to be towards her children. To Diane's family I am so sorry for your loss. The lord broke the mold after he made Diane Robenski. She will always live in a special place in my heart . I love you mom
12-04-2014 at 11:38 AM
Elizabeth Fattore
Diane was one of the very few people that had a profound impact on my life. We taught Junior High Sunday School together and had Bible studies together. We served on Vestry together. She was soft spoken, yet full of wisdom. Very humble, yet full of grace. She listened, I mean, really listened…you could tell her anything and she did not judge; she listened so that she could pray. She truly was an angel walking among us. I can laugh because I know if she read this, she would deny it all. "Oh please, Elizabeth, you know it's all the Lord". Yes Diane, it sure was, but it was because you were obedient to His call and HIs blessings rained down. You truly are a good and faithful servant. My heart hurts because cancer took her body, but I rejoice because she entered His glorious presence and is resting in the arms of Jesus, no longer in pain and her crown full of jewels. May all who knew her live by her example…she showed us how to walk with Jesus. Well done Diane.
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October 31, 2014, 12:00 AM

We Remember Diane Robenski

Our beloved deacon, the Rev. Diane A. Robensiki, has entered into the eternal rest that comes through the death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ.  She passed peacefully on Wednesday morning, October 29, surrounded by her loving family.

Diane was a deacon at Prince of Peace.  She was instrumental in the formation of the congregation and served the church in many capacities. 

Friends will be received Friday, October 31, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., at Tatalovich Funeral Home and Cremation Services, 2205 McMinn St., Aliquippa.  A service of thanksgiving and resurrection (Holy Eucharist) will follow at 1:00 at the funeral home.  Interment will follow at Mt. Olivet Cemetery in Hopewell.  All are welcome to come to a reception at the Church.

Please feel free to leave your own thoughts and memories below.  Longer peices may be submitted to fr.bob.richard@gmail.com.

If others would like to get directly to this page, the webpage link is http://pop-church.com/page/blog.



Comments

04-22-2015 at 9:16 PM
Pamela Laub
I was active in P.O.P. ministries until I moved to Orlando in 1994. Diane was one of the people I was hoping to see when we visit in August. She was such a sweet, loving person and will be missed. Our reunion will have to wait a while longer. My thoughts and prayers are with her family.
12-19-2014 at 10:48 AM
Geoff Bull
We miss you Diane. My wife's heart is broken at her loss of a good friend and prayer warrior. I loved your reading of the Gospel and the "sending us forth." You were in our prayers at every meal time. Our hearts ache not seeing you at church with your greeting and smile.
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