Monday, November 22, 2010

Words of Comfort

Today I attended the funeral of the mother of a friend of mine who is my age. I started thinking about my own mom who lost her father when she was a year older than I am now. It's weird to think of loosing a parent at this age. Honestly, I can't imagine it.

With two funerals in the past two weeks, sorrow and grief and pain and all the other emotions that accompany really thinking on death have been on my mind a lot lately. I have been thinking about what I take comfort in during times like these and it really boiled down to two things:

1. The assurance of the deceased's faith in a risen Christ. This theme was present at both the funerals I attended and truly, there is just nothing more comforting for a believer than to know you will be able to see your loved one again. And in a place of perfection, with no tears or pain! I alluded to this in a previous post, but there are several people in mine and Peyton's lives whom we care for greatly and who I really don't have that assurance with (not to say they aren't Christians, but I just don't have an absolute confidence one hundred percent of the time). It is a real reminder to pray daily for those people and to work at engaging them in conversation.

2. Peyton's Aunt Beth spoke these sweet words to Granny the day of PopPop's funeral: "You have so many people who love you." While the first thing provides comfort in the eternal realm, it doesn't always help with the temporal feelings of loneliness. Not everyone wants to hear "He/she is in a better place" when they loose a loved one.

So often, I think we associate the turn out at a funeral with the attendant's relationship to the deceased. And, so it should be- there is often, and should be, a direct correlation between the attendance at a gathering remembering a person's life and the way that that person lived his life. Of course, a man or woman who lived a life of great love and integrity would have a room full of people to both celebrate that person's life and legacy and mourn the passing of it.

But, at both these funerals, I was attending as much (if not more) to bring comfort to those still here. Our pastor said that we gathered this morning for three reasons: 1) as an act of worship 2) to honor this woman's life and 3) to bring comfort to the family and friends she left behind. Aunt Beth's words last week touched me so. So often it is so hard to find the words. Everything seems unhelpful ("it's going to be okay") or at the very least, cliche ("this was part of God's plan"). I realized though, that these words, would be the ones I wanted to hear if I was put in the situation of loosing someone so close to me. Knowing I was surrounded by many people who loved me, like Granny was that day, would bring me great comfort.

Thanks be to God for providing both Himself and other believers to love and lift us up during hard times!

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