Another funeral today. If you’ve read this blog you know I do a lot of them.
Today’s was a gravesite service. The funeral director called me last night because the family didn’t have a church. And they didn’t know who to call. The director called me because I’m his pastor and he knows I won’t say anything hurtful or too stupid.
I didn’t know the woman’s name when I drove to the cemetery. I didn’t even know it was a woman. She was elderly and had been sick for a long time and it was a mercy that she passed.
They had picked a song to be played on a stereo and I decided it should be first. It was a sweet sad country piece, and it did the job it was supposed to do. I watched tears fall. I saw people get up from their seats to go sit close to someone they loved. Hands reached out and arms wrapped around the shoulders of another.
You can see things if you know what I know. I saw people who worked hard but were poor. They drank too much. In younger days they partied a lot, but not so much anymore because they were tired. I saw they had unresolved conflict between each other, had lashed out and hurt each other in the past, but they still loved each other and would share their sadness with each other today.
My God, I felt my emotions rising and I thought I was going to lose it before I even stood to speak to these strangers.
But they weren’t strangers. I’ve known them all my life. I tamped down my feelings and stood to be their minister.
I may not see any of them again but at that moment, I loved them.