Death, Life, and Funerals
Everyone who has ever lived will die one day. As much as that statement sucks, it is true. From the moment we are born, we begin to die. Some of us get more revolutions on this earth than others, although except for those who die at their own hand, we have no idea why this is true. But, everyone dies.
I went back to my “homeland,” Indiana last week for a visit. My father has been struggling with an infection in his foot for several weeks now, and after having his great toe amputated, I decided a visit was in order. I had not been back to my homeland for over a year now. I wasn’t planning on going this time, but I needed to go. I needed to see for myself that my dad was okay. And he is okay, healing, but my dad is different. I used to see him as this really strong guy; my hero. Okay, he still is my hero, but he has changed from the person he was 13 months ago. His arms and legs are thin, and as I watched him maneuver using his crutches, I found myself holding my breath. My parents have aged in the last 13 months. I mean, I know we all age, but sometimes it sort of sneaks up on you, especially when you have not seen someone in a long time.
Death is something I know a thing or two about, although I wish that were not true. Before I was a pastor, I was a nurse. The unfortunate part of living is dying. Just in case no one ever told you, life is fatal. One day each and every one of us will die, as much as we fight it. Maybe that is the key to life; knowing that one day this crazy journey will be over, so we damn well better enjoy it while we can. I mean, there are car accidents, people get shot going to work, getting pulled over, going to church, getting groceries, and it is all really ridiculous. Things like that just should not happen. No one should have to bury their child; life should never work that, and yet it does. Is it fair? No. If you have some resource that says life will be fair, please share it with me, I have a bone or two to pick with the author. Want to know how unfair death and life is, just remember there is something called “Pediatric Hospice.” “Only the good die young,” well I disagree with Billy Joel. It just hurts a lot more when they do.
While on my trip back to the home of Indy Car and Tony Stewart, I went to a funeral visitation. This sweet lady had dropped dead at 65 years young. No time for another goodbye. No time for another hug or an “I love you.” There is always going to be another funeral, at least as a pastor anyway. In the 2 years I have served as a pastor, I have officiated 15 of them, I believe. As a way of catharsis, I now announce the number of dead I have burried in each cemetary I pass. I didn’t say I always make sense.
All this to say that everyone dies, sooner or later. So be sure to love the ones you have. Hold them close. Appreciate them. Tell them you love them.
First Posted July 14, 2015