“go and bid them farewell”
I went to a funeral the other day, just two weeks after the last funeral I attended. They were very different feeling, though. The one a couple weeks ago was my great uncle, D–, who had been 99 when he died, which was actually back in April, I think. The memorial service was held a couple of weeks ago to coincide with the annual family reunion, which enabled long-distance folks to attend.
Although I knew him, he was obviously quite a bit older than me, and I probably hadn’t seen him since last year’s reunion, and I probably hadn’t talked to him even then, much more than a “hello” and a “you look wonderful, it’s so good to see you.”
Don’t get me wrong; he was a sweet man, there’s just a lot of people to catch up with. Not to mention lunch to eat.
This weekend was the funeral of G– my mom’s cousin. Actually, he was my mom’s cousin-in-law, but frankly in a family as large as mine, everyone who’s my age feels like a cousin to me, and everyone my parents’ age feels like an aunt or an uncle. So really, it feels like an uncle has died.
And this one was a little harder for me. I have very fond memories of him. His kids are my age, so my sisters and I have always been friendly with them. And he was a fun, friendly, outgoing man. Not to mention that his death was very sudden. Frankly, I’m still not entirely sure what happened.
His funeral was important enough to me to be there, but not so much so that we cancelled the plans my son had for Saturday, which were also important. The loss was deeply felt, but not so much that I had trouble eating, or sleeping. I cried a few times on Saturday, but I laughed too.
And that’s what struck me. As we were driving to the church on Saturday, my husband and I were talking about G– and his family, but also about our upcoming vacation, and whether or not we needed to go to the grocery store before dinner. On the way home, I shared some stories about G– with my daughter, but I also gave her directions as she drove, since we’re working on increasing her freeway-driving experience, and it was a bit of a long way home. It seemed a little disrespectful somehow, to be talking about mundane, or selfish things, when several people I care about were experiencing a very, very difficult day. But on the other hand, it seemed right, too. There was a feeling of balance… of equilibrium almost… Difficult topics of conversation, then regular ones, then some fun excitement, and then some sadness again. Sort of, life, ya know?
And if you’ll stay with me while I make a sharp left turn, the comparison I made in my head was how this is how God should be in our lives. How He often is in mine, even though that might seem peculiar. I’ll be doing my own thing, thinking about whatever, when I suddenly find myself praying. Maybe it’s a question prayer; maybe it’s a thank you prayer; maybe it’s an urgent need. And then my thought process changes for whatever reason, and I forget about Him. But not for long.
I think this is a good thing. The Bible says to pray without ceasing, but I gotta say, it’s hard to do! And so this is what I think it looks like in my life ~ in my mind. He is welcome in my life, in my heart, in my thoughts ~ I’ve told Him that. So sometimes maybe He reminds me that I’ve been ignoring Him; other times I’m just wise enough to remember that I haven’t checked in with Him in awhile. And then I think thoughts at Him, or start pondering the last sermon we had in church, or something I read in Scripture recently.
In and out, back and forth, remembering and forgetting and remembering again… And all the while, hopefully, I’m growing older and wiser, and the times when I am consciously with Him are more, and my selfish me only times are less.
Life is a mixture. Just make sure there’s more of Him than anything else.