Monday, September 16, 2013

Just Go to the Funeral

Just for the record, you should go to funerals of people you don't even know. Just go. 
It isn't about the person in the box. It about those mourning around it.

A friend of mine's grandpa died recently. I had never met the man. I haven't even known my friend that long. In fact, I was introduced to my friend's brother once. Introduced as in exchanged names. Tonight I was introduced to the sister in law. And that is the extent of my family knowledge/meet'n'greet.

I knew how close grandparent and child were and I remember the waves of peace that came when people showed up when my grandpa died. So I did something that felt incredibly awkward.

I went. I went to the viewing.  I hugged my friend. Showed my support. Stood awkwardly because not only do I not know the family, I don't know the community either so I wasn't going to bump into friends.Providentially one of our friends from church and I arrived at the same time so I had a buddy to walk in the door with. But she is from around here and knew people.  I would have just gone to the funeral which is a LOT less awkward cause you can kind of "hide" but logistically it was not something I could swing. 

I felt weird. Really weird. But that is ok.  It was not about me. It was about showing "hey. I am praying for you.
I care."

My dad's dad died suddenly.  We think from a heart attack.  I was at camp. Friend brought us to the house after camp. A home with six children is rarely pristine or silent. This time it was both.  The look on my mom's face said something was not right. As we, the oldest kids, slipped into seats in the living room, we were told our grandpa was with Jesus.  He died earlier in the week and they didn't call so that we could finish out our week at camp without that sorrow.  I sat numb. It took me a while to cry I was so stunned by the news.  It hurts even still to think about all the things regarding his death.  Like the fact he had been sick with a virus so we, I , hadn't seen him or even talked to him for about two weeks prior to his departure from this world. Tears well behind my eyes at that.

At my grandpa's viewing and funeral I remember seeing faces I would not have expected to see. People who knew my family. People who had not been around in years. People who knew my grandparents.   People who knew us all.  Those faces, people I didn't get to speak to, were such an encouragement..  Them being there was such a comfort to me and I would say my family as well. And maybe I am just a girl. Maybe that is a woman thing. Maybe it is just a "Rebekah" thing. I don't know. But that support was great. It produced waves of relief over my being.

So just go. Do the awkward thing. Show that you mourn with those who mourn.  Go even if you don't get to say a word to the person(s) you know.  Love fervently. visibly. tangibly.

 *steps down off soapbox*

1 comment:

  1. I think funerals are a difficult thing to analyse and process in our hearts and minds. Perhaps it's because I've only attended two (one family member / the other of an elder from our old church).

    Funerals of a non-believer are extremely painful. One is literally prodding God for His grace to save that precious soul. My parents attended the funeral of our neighbour when I was at school. It was conducted by a humanist, which surprised me so profoundly, as I recall one of our other neighbours evangelising to our neighbour couple. The words of no hope just saddens anyone. One simply looks to the past, as there is no future. There is no sustainable peace to continue your journey to move on. I've also witnessed the crumbling state of mind of people at work who live without hope, as a result of a loss within the family.

    Funerals of Christians are different - to the extent that we (as the Body of Christ) can be encouraged in God's Word that he/she is with the LORD Jesus Christ. There is a reverend peace and a silent confidence to move forward, but emotionally - it can be just as a struggle with non-believers, purely because of that human loss.

    Although I don't fear death in my own life because of my faith and hope in the LORD, I know I will have a heavy heart later in experiencing and learning about grieving, as most of my friends are mature in age and I'm an only child. At least we can be encouraged that Jesus understands the anguish and pain of human suffering...

    In Christ,
    Richard

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