Sometimes I think about my funeral. Over the years I’ve had the opportunity to attend many funerals, some of people I knew well and some of people I barely knew at all. Years ago I attended the saddest funeral ever. My husband was there; he gave the eulogy. I came and brought our young daughter. An orderly from the hospital came and brought his wife and daughter with him. That was it – six people – all strangers really. I had met the deceased only one time. We went to visit him when he called from the hospital. I still wonder how he got our phone number. We talked for about an hour; his story full of bitterness and regret. It really makes you think about how you treat people. This man lived a full life but left no one behind to honor and mourn him. So sad.
This week I attended a beautiful funeral. A healthy forty year old woman died unexpectedly. I’ve never seen our little church building so crowded. Every chair was filled and visitors stood along the walls and overflowed into the lobby. While there were plenty of tears and grief at a life cut too short, we really came together to say goodbye and celebrate a wonderful woman’s life. We shared stories, laughed, and remembered the many ways she had touched us before moving on. I want to earn a funeral like that one.
I sang two songs in front of all those people. Three of us sang together, two old hymns. For the first time in my life I didn’t feel nervous. I didn’t think about how I looked or how I sounded. I thought about my friend who had died and all the people there who had come to say goodbye. And I thought about the words to the songs. One of them went like this.
Tempted and tried we’re oft made to wonder,
Why it should be thus all the day long.
While there are others living about us,
Never molested though in the wrong.
Farther along we’ll know all about it.
Farther along we’ll understand why.
Cheer up my brother live in the sunshine.
We’ll understand it all by and by.