If you read my last blog I told you about one of my best friend’s mom’s two month battle with cancer. On Saturday I attended Pam’s funeral and it was one of those times that I just had to write down all that I learned going through it because it was that meaningful, hard and wonderful, all at the same time. So here goes…
- The dash between the date of our birth and our death will be represented at our funeral by the people occupying the pews. Our life and legacy are the people we lived with, loved and hopefully impacted. I need to live life remembering that.
- We have a choice in life. Do I want to spend my life trying to figure out the “why’s” no one will ever have an answer to (why was this precious soul taken so quickly, why at such a young age, why didn’t God heal her?) or will I choose to look at pain and trials through God’s Word and then prayerfully decide, “What Now?”
- No matter how hard, disappointing or otherwise having faith in God may be or seem, at the end of our lives hope of eternal life in that big ol’ mansion with Jesus makes all the difference. Both for us and for those we leave behind.
- There is nothing more beautiful or amazing than a spouse, tears streaming down their face, lifting their hands to Jesus in humble praise and thanksgiving at their wife’s funeral. If I’ve said once, I’ve said it a million times. Faith in Jesus doesn’t make sense (why is a hurting, broken hearted man thanking God when the wife he truly and genuinely loved for so long just died?). But when we need God the most He holds us up and gives us peace and strength that wouldn’t happen as deeply or quickly or with as much purpose as it would without Him.
- It is a wonderful thing to be so close to someone that when you finally get up to them in the receiving line you can whisper a tear filled, “I love you” and trust and know that everything else between you is summed up in that long, close, meaningful hug.
- The voice of a child reading their grandma’s favorite Bible verses strikes a nerve in one’s hearts that is indescribably powerful.
- We should be more like children at funerals. They are incredibly sad but they are also at peace. They can laugh at funerals and not feel bad about it. They understand the finality of a funeral but they also understand it is not the end. Not for them or for the one whose funeral they are attending.
- I need to talk less and listen more to people who are older than me. I have so many things I wish I would have asked Pam: “Your son said you never complained though you often had legitimate reasons to do so. Did you choose not to complain or did that just come easily for you? Your family and pastor were in amazement that for the two months since your diagnosis and all the bad news you received during that time you had complete peace. What/how/why and how can I have that? I mean REALLY have that?” We, I, do not realize or take advantage of the wisdom that stands before us in the generation that is “crowned with silver.” I don’t want to keep making that foolish mistake.
- When we know (and I mean know) that the person we are saying good bye to is going to heaven, it changes everything. (I already alluded to this but it bears repeating).
“Dear Lord, There was so much more I learned on Saturday about you, my dear friends, myself and about what death teaches about life. I watched a beautiful family say “good-night” (thank you Pastor Tom) to their mom, wife, grandma, sister, cousin and auntie. In that observation I realized that I don’t want to be sad, experience loss or feel hurt apart from learning something…apart from doing life better, differently and more meaningfully. I don’t want to because I don’t want anyone who dies, especially the premature, dignified, faith-filled way Pam died, to stand up in heaven and say, “Don’t you get it dummy? Yes, be sad. Yes, this hurts. But at the end of the day, do life better, love more deeply and grow more in love with Jesus every day because of what you have learned here.” That is what matters. Give Pam a great big hug, God. We are so jealous that you get to have her back. Thanks for loaning her to us though and for the impact she has made in the lives of so many; in death and in life. Amen.”