This evening my wife and I went to the funeral of a friend, from a few years back.
Tonight’s post offers some reflections and thoughts about funerals and dying…
It seems a little sad (and unfair) that a person’s life is relegated to a few minutes of remembrance and reflection. A funeral, no matter how well thought out, just cannot adequately express the value of the person who has departed this life.
Pictures help! I always enjoy those funerals (and memorial services) where someone has taken the time to dig through all the old photographs of the departed person “in their natural habitat.” Those picture displays give you a glimpse into their personality, their quirks (we all have them), and their passions. You get a much better view of the whole person than the few minutes that a service will allow.
The facts about a person are NOT the person. Knowing when and where they were born, knowing what they did for employment, knowing where they lived, knowing about their significant relationships are all fine – but those facts give only the parameters of their life, they do not offer us the substance of their life. In those precious few moments, at the funeral, we need to know the character – as well as the story their life has told.
Knowing Jesus makes all the difference. I have been to funerals where the devastation and sadness is almost overwhelming. It’s because everyone knows that the person who has passed had a very questionable confession of faith in God. People want desperately to believe that the departed has gone on to be with Jesus – but there is more hoping it is true, than knowing it is true. When a relationship with Jesus is certain, there is less of a sense that the loved one has gone away, and more of a sense that they have gone home. In the final “analysis,” this knowing gives great comfort and reassurance to the family.
Cherish the ones you love. This seems obvious, but it is the one thing I hear most when people talk about their regrets with the passing of someone they love. We tend to take our loved ones for granted – like they will always be there. But the truth is, none of us are promised tomorrow. We have today. And the key to full and pleasant tomorrows is to make our todays as full and as meaningful as we can. Treasure our loved ones now… and when they are gone we will truly have treasured memories.
Lastly: Live each day of your life knowing that your life will end. What does your life bring to this world? How does the fact that you are in this world make it a better place? What do you do that enriches the lives of others? What about your life will be an inspiration for others, or for generations to come?
The truth is… each of us will come to that moment when people have gathered to hear the synopsis of our lives. That story is told in the now…