Dluxe's World

Monday, July 31

A dubious beginning

I'll have the 2nd part of the post on Deuteronomy up later tonight. In the meantime, I thought I'd explain the lag.

Eva, the kids, and I all travelled to Maine this weekend to attend a memorial service for Eva's grandfather, Roy Beane. Shortly after Roy passed away, Eva mentioned that my mother-in-law and Roy's wife wanted me to say a prayer at the funeral... I guess I've become known as the 'religious one'. As it turns out, what they actually wanted me to do was officiate the whole funeral. Not something you like to find out 1 minute before you are expected to start talking.

A few thoughts, having come back to the world after that surprise.
  • Death truly is the great leveller of mankind. As I stood looking at the people who had come for Roy's service, it occurred to me how very different they all were. Our family and Eva's mother represented typical, 'middle-class' Americans while many of the others were somewhat lower on the socio-economic scale. Please understand that I mean no offense in this... It just struck me that we could've been there to put the richest man in the world or the poorest one into the ground. It really makes no difference... We're all dust, and our lives will all be snuffed out.
  • What will your legacy be? I stood and listened, with a heart that alternated between deep grief and anger, to the recollection of a life which consisted of little more than "good fishin' stories". Obviously, here was a person who was deeply loved by many (myself included) but the things that live on past him are fleeting recollections of pleasure. Please don't misunderstand... I want my son and daughter to remember wrestling, fishing, and all those kinds of things when I'm gone, too! Those fun memories are important. But more than that, I hope they remember my faith, the character I struggled maintain (succeeding only in my better moments), my deep love for them and their Mom, and that life is more than people, places, and things.
  • What a difference the Cross of Christ makes! We are beyond grateful to God that Roy acknowledged Christ before slipping away from us. As a result, we have peace and comfort even in the midst of the pain of his passing. We know where Roy is and have the glorious hope of that future for ourselves. For so many gathered around that headstone this weekend, hope was just a notion and comfort could be found only in empty platitudes about "[Roy's] pain being over".
  • It's difficult to tell the line between polite self-censorship and timidity. There were so many things I wanted to say to the people there... I think I said them, but I know that I took the edge off consciously so I wouldn't ruin my already tenuous relationship with my in-law family. I stayed up a long time last night wondering if I really had been loving or weak. Perhaps for the first time in my life, I felt the full, very real weight of what disturbed Paul:
    For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing, to one a fragrance from death to death, to the other a fragrance from life to life. Who is sufficient for these things? For we are not, like so many, peddlers of God's word, but as men of sincerity, as commissioned by God, in the sight of God we speak in Christ. (1 Cor 2:15-17, ESV)

    I hope that God was honored in what I said. But I know in my heart that I can never say the same things again.
Just to end on a lighter note: I hope that having my first official act the supervision of a funeral is not going to somehow define the rest of my ministry. On a related note, I did a good enough job that one member of the extended family "just had to tell me that [he thought] I should become a God-damned preacher".

Of all the types of ministry I had been considering, that certainly wasn't one of them.

2 Comments:

  • DITTO TO THAT... DITTO...

    By Anonymous SDELLI4, at 2:17 PM, July 31, 2006  

  • Oh my goodness, Brian, what a shock! It reminds me of the disciples who had to trust God to give them words. The very fact that this was dropped on you bombshell-wise seems to me to indicate that He didn't want you preparing for it, and that He did guide your words. Very thought-provoking indeed.

    By Blogger PatL, at 10:32 PM, July 31, 2006  

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