Man. I bet I'm the #1 funeral goer of all time – a title I'm not too sure is a GOOD title, but none-the-less, its my lot and so I'll take it. Funerals and I have a love/hate thing going on…the hate thing is probably pretty easy to understand, but the love part? I know…weird. Here's the breakdown…
Loss. Pain. It's not hard to hate on funerals.
I've been on the front row many times of these things – too many times in my opinion, but never without purpose, I firmly believe. There's an uncomfortable emptiness – a hole in the gut – that you feel when you line the pews to say goodbye. For me, I hate it (during those funerals when I'm not the one in the front row) bc I know what those front-row-ers are feeling, living, tasting. I know it – like it was yesterday. And worse than that, I know what is to come. I know those next few weeks/months…and, I ache for them.
I hate it because there are NO perfect words to fix the hurting. I hate it because people say the wrong words or try to make sense of it for you when they really should just hug you, cry with you, and ache with you and stop trying to put words on it. I hate it bc…
Death came too early.
That person had lots of good living to come.
But why THIS person?
I have regrets…I didn't say/do the things I wish I would've.
No one wants to go to funerals; most will make excuses to avoid them. I go to them every chance I get, bc I know what it's like to be in the front row. I hate funerals.
Second-chances. That's the main thing I love about funerals. And no, not for the dearly departed…I suppose they don't have that second chance. But, when I go to funerals I'm reminded of how brief and finite this life is. No matter what kind of car I have or how cute my new haircut is, when it's over – none of that matters. Should it matter now? (well the hair, YES…)
I guess what I'm saying is, life is a series of circumstances and occurrences. Any of which – good or bad – can be that moment…that life marker that you look back on and say, "now THAT was when it all changed for me." Funerals can/should be that for each of us.
We are finite. We are all dying. We sit in a pew with a chance to continue living our lives (unlike the one we're honoring at the funeral). We have choices to make. How will we choose to step outside of this church and continue?
At funerals, we can see the glory of some of the most beautiful moments of love if we really look. We hear words/memories that have shaped those who are there…lives impacted and changed. Some of the most precious words are the ones spoken thru love…and finality. There's a reality there that cuts thru pretenses of our everyday life…a chance to say those things that we regret not saying to the person before they died.
And for me, I see funerals as a chance to see the one true God and how He loves us – despite us. There is nothing that makes me bolder in my trust of what is to come after this life – and being bold enough to speak it out loud – than a funeral. If there EVER was a time to examine and think about it, it's at the end of life on this earth.
How do you go on – walk out the parking lot in said car, with said cute haircut – without thinking thru the AFTER? How do you have hope if you don't deal with a God who created us…and created us to die this life here on earth?
HOPE. A funeral is hope to me. A chance to remember – to stop in the midst of the craziness of my regular life – and remember what I believe. What I want to LIVE out as long as I'm here.
He loves me. No matter how many funerals I've cried through. He's never left me – regardless of what row I was on while I mourned. He's never forsaken me – no matter how badly it ached and seemed it'd never stop.
I know Him…personally. I know where I'll be when I'm done here. When I go, you can all stand up and say it – you can leave with your cute hairstyles and remember that. And if you can't say the same thing about your own life w/100% certainty, then don't wait for a funeral to remind you that you need to figure that out.
So, Monday I'll waterproof my mascara and I'll wear fancy shoes…and I'll cry with my sweet friend and I'll hate it. And…I'll thank Him for funerals, too.