Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Thoughts on Funerals and Friendship

As I type this, my good friend from college is probably finally getting home from her father's funeral today. I returned from there (Denver) just a few hours ago, still feeling overwhelmed- maybe just blindsided- by it all. She's just 23. Her sister will graduate from high school this week. There are few times when such an intense empathy has come over me, as I find myself thinking of all that she must miss- his voice, his hugs, his wisdom. I had met the man only a few times, but it didn't take long to see he was amazing.
I was reminded today of one of the gifts we have in friendship- to mourn with those who mourn. I think at times we think of that as the bum part of the deal- that we enjoy the rejoicing and will endure the mourning. True, I don't wish for the kind of circumstances that bring about a day like this. They are tragic and painful. But I do treasure the gift of my friend's tear-stained face buried in my shoulder, and of just being able to stand nearby for a while during the chaos of the post-funeral greeting time. I felt so blessed to stand there with several other college friends, seeing the way that the Father brings us together, allows us to do all of life's ups and downs as a team. The last time we were all together, in fact, was for the same friend's wedding in July.
Again and again, I believe that the enemy loves to tell us, as the hurter, not to be a burden. And he tells the comforter that we might be a bother, or actually convinces us to be annoyed. What a tragic lie! He is tampering with one of the most precious things the Body can do- hurt together. When we allow ourselves to weep together as freely as we laugh, God's love is indeed made complete in us. It is worship. And it is ever so sweet.

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