I didn't blog last Wednesday because I was spending the day surrounded by family, celebrating a life well lived, and my wonderful, gregarious, life-loving Aunt Betty's promotion to heaven. Over the years, I have become somewhat of an expert at funerals. I started attending them when I was eight, when my Uncle Ivan died. Ironically, when I attended Aunt Betty's funeral last week and stayed with one of my fifty-five first cousins, I bunked in a bedroom with my cousin, Charlene--who was Uncle Ivan's daughter. How precious family becomes at times like this.
When one lives in a small town for forty-four years, and is related to someone in practically every state in the union, plus several countries, one tends to say goodbye a lot. I try not to take life for granted, but in reality, true life has already begun for the deceased as loved ones are making plans for the funeral. It's why I pray for those family members and friends whose walk with God is unknown to me. It's why I love to hear the message of Christ preached at funerals. I once witnessed multiple decisions made for Christ at the funeral of a Christian teenager when the pastor had an altar call at the request of the family. How my young friend must have been blessed as she looked on from her new home in heaven.
The real message that reaches those at the funeral is the life of the deceased. I love it when the pastor urges friends and family of the deceased to share stories. Some of the best funerals are the ones where jokes are told, the people can't help laughing, and everyone knows they'll be sharing even more funny and endearing stories in heaven someday. Laughter through tears is one of the most memorable emotions--so close to true life.
If you're ever at a funeral and are asked to speak a few kind words about the deceased for the sake of family, please do so. You'll never know this side of heaven how you will bless those who grieve. Our tears can be turned to joy with just a few words of truth.
How about you? How do you want to be remembered in the distant future, when your life--well-lived--has taken you on to heaven? What do you want as your legacy?
I want mine to be authentic. I want people to know I messed up over and over, that I didn't live a perfect life, and that it was still okay. God loved me because He saw Christ covering me. I want those who don't know Him to have a final chance for me to lead them home.
Labels: family funeral, Gone to glory, life after death