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Funeral Home Flood

June 27, 2016

I couldn’t see The Book of Worship.

My notes were swimming in front of me.

We were at her funeral.

Their current pastor was unavailable for medical reasons that day. At Rev. Kimberly’s gracious invitation, it was my honor to be leading the service and preaching the homily.

They’d been married 64 years and one month.

They were the proverbial “pillars of the church.” And this is a church with many such “pillars.” I know, because about twenty years ago it had been my honor to be their pastor for five amazing years.

During that time they had also treated me as their friend. They had been there for me during a time of upheaval and transition in my personal life. They were supportive with prayers and notes and hugs and comments. Perhaps most importantly, they had been there for me with listening ears and caring hearts.

We were at her funeral.

Seeing people again after all this time had been a bit jarring. Most of us looked and sounded about the same, just slightly different. But essentially still ourselves. We quickly caught up and the decades melted away.

We were at her funeral.

Scenes and feelings from my time with them ran around the fringes of my focus.

I was reading Scripture and praying.

I sat while a song was sung.

Then the song was over.

It was time to stand up and preach a homily about her life, her faith, her influence, and as Psalm 23 says, her eternity “in the house of the Lord forever.”

Walking the three steps from my chair to the lectern felt like it took about a week and half.

Standing behind the lectern, I adjusted its brass light for no reason but to stall for time to find some semblance of composure.

Glanced up.

Made eye contact with her husband, now her widower. What a horrible word that is, widower.

He and I looked at each other.

Silence.

A tsunami of memories and emotions and then tears.

Drowning in this flood.

But they were all looking at me.

“Family and Friends of Meredith,” I began. Not sure I even made it to her middle initial on that first attempt.

Gratitude and grief and things for which I have no words swamped me.

I couldn’t see The Book of Worship.

My notes were swimming in front of me.

There’s a lot they don’t teach in seminary.

We were at her funeral.

 

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3 Comments
  1. Karen Comeau permalink

    It has been said,”Grief is the last act of love we have to give”.

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  2. So well said, Karen. Thank you.

    Like

  3. I am surprised they don’t teach you to grieve empathically. One of the things I learned first through experience and later in a class (Chaplaincy if I am remembering correctly) that if tears come naturally, do not try to stop them. It is the purest form of grieving with another. I like the way that Karen worded it, it is perfect!

    Like

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