“When God comes, he always calls us out of our house. We are visited so that we can visit others; we are encountered so as to encounter others; we receive love in order to give love.”
Recently my mother-in-law’s childhood best friend passed away after a battle with cancer. Kay was a lovely woman and while I didn’t know her well, I felt like I knew her from the countless stories my wife’s family shared over the years. Kay lived in Maryland so we accompanied my mother-in-law down for the service which was going to be held in the funeral home. Truth be told, while I liked Kay, I was going more to support Dolores and maybe also avoid a Saturday of several hours alone with all four children. I wasn’t expecting much from the service by way of personal meaning. After all, I wouldn’t know anyone outside of a few of my in-laws. I had only been with Kay a handful of times. She was a devoted Presbyterian so it wasn’t going to be in a church or be a Catholic Mass. I told myself it was just a nice thing to do.
It’s possible I might have cried more than when my grandfather died. This tiny funeral home was overflowing with people, so much so that I sat in a distant lobby and listened to the service over a speaker. Whether it was the minister’s heartfelt reflection, Kay’s selection of scripture and reflections to be read, or the way in which people, even those with me in the distant lobby, raised their voices louder and louder with every song, there was one thing that was undeniable – God was very present in Kay’s life - so present in fact, God was even more present in Kay’s death. Will the celebration of my life celebrate the Lord? Regardless of how many may come to my funeral, will they come to know Him better because they come to know how much He meant to me? Driving home, Tricia and I spoke of what our funeral plans would be. The biggest thing we had in common was not how much we wanted to be celebrated like Kay, but how much we wanted to live like her.