Saturday, July 26, 2008

"He Spent His Whole Life Preparing for this Day"

That's what she said.

Was she a wife talking about her husband on the day he won the Tour de France?

Was she a mother, talking about her son as he was about to begin his debut performance at Carnegie Hall?

Actually, she was a daughter talking about her father at his funeral.

Now I am not generally much of an appreciator of the comments or shared memories of family and friends of the deceased which are made during a funeral service. There are alot of reasons I don't care much for it, some of which are theological, some practical, and yet other reasons are nothing but a matter of personal preference.

But that being said, I attended the funeral of a man from our church a couple of weeks ago, a brother in Christ who was a faithful member of our parish community. His wife died only a few short months ago. Near the end of the service, his children were invited forward to speak and I sat back and sighed and prepared to start counting the little mosaic tiles on the iconostasis. But his daughter's first statement brought me back to attention.

"He spent his whole life preparing for this day," she said.

How profound those few words are. How much they say about what our earthly life is to be ... a preparation for our death. And how different this is from what the world says our life is to be (something measurable at the end by our accomplishments, by how much wealth and stuff we have accumulated, by how well our name is known, by the "legacy" we have left).

I have thought about this statement of hers a hundred times since that day. It's the most significant comment from a loved one I have ever heard at a funeral.

I hope I never forget it.

3 comments:

usedtobewitty said...

I wasn't able to pay attention at the funeral as much as I wanted to since my baby was fussy, my boy was grumpy, and my middle child ran full speed into a glass wall in the narthex. (Did you happen to hear a loud thud and subsequent crying near the end of the service? That was her.)

However, I did hear this comment and have thought about it many many times since then - so profound and so humbling.

Gretchen

Michelle Melania said...

All I can say is "wow". What an incredible thing to be able to say about a person. It is something to meditate upon.

Mimi said...

Wow indeed. May his Memory be Eternal.