We ended up unexpectedly at the church where Jack and I got married…exactly ten years from the day of our wedding…but this time we were there for a funeral. Jack’s stepfather’s brother passed away this week after a battle with cancer. He was a young, handsome, and happy man; father of two, grandfather of a little girl, and very well-loved. Jack’s brother, Joe, did a truly wonderful job of being the pastor at the funeral and sharing Jesus in a personal way to those who came to pay their respects. I didn’t really know this uncle very well at all, had only seen him a few times really, but I was very sad to see my loved ones sad. The good news, as it was well declared today, is that he is no longer suffering and quite ecstatic actually to be where he is, ahead of us all, with Jesus.
So, it’s interesting to think about an “end” on the very first day of a New Year, but also so very fitting! When all this is over, we will finally begin. Nobody likes a funeral, but honestly it’s moments like that, days like today, that make us think about what we want to be remembered for and how we should, as believers, really feel about saying goodbye. Today made me and Jack want to plan our funerals…I just don’t want my funeral to be churchy. I want to give people a chance to grieve and say goodbye to me, because our psyches need that, but I don’t want the old songs and the big box and the quiet. I don’t want people to gather around an empty shell of a body that caused me all kinds of grief, even if that is the face they loved; I want pictures, music, books, whatever people thought of when they thought of me, and ultimately I want people to worship the Lord. I want them to forget about themselves and enjoy the Lord’s presence. I want a great praise band. I want people to celebrate my homecoming, and know beyond a shadow of a doubt that no matter what circumstances or timing led to my death, I am at peace with the way the Lord let it all go down. I am His, and He knows the number of my days. Not a sparrow falls to the ground without His knowledge and I am worth much more than that…and so are you! I know I’m weaving together a bunch of random thoughts, but wouldn’t it be cool if all of my stuff (that my family didn’t want, I guess) was set out at my funeral for people to take home with them if they shared a memory of me with that item?
So…sobering thoughts. As this family grieves their loss, my prayer for them is that the Lord would bring them deeper and farther and higher into His arms, into a new level of walking with Him, so that when their time comes…they’re glad.