I ‘preached’ my best friend’s funeral a few weeks ago. Isn’t that a weird phrase? But, that’s how church folk speak sometimes. I’m not sure anyone outside evangelistic circles ever ‘preach’ funerals. I don’t think that’s what a priest would call it. Pretty sure a Lutheran minister wouldn’t. But, where I come from, it’s what we call it. We preach funerals. Now that women are being called more and more to this role, many in my spiritual circles, probably would not want to call it ‘preaching’ either.
No matter. I was invited to do the Eulogy at my best friend’s funeral. I can only hope I honored her with what I said and the stories I told. It was hard. It’s hard to speak in front of a group when your heart groans and threatens to shatter with each word. Because of COVID we held the service outside. Wore masks. Social distanced. Only a group of thirty were allowed to attend. Fortunately, we live in the age of technology and many who loved my friend were able to attend virtually and sent beautiful thoughts and prayers to the family.
I cannot believe I once again find myself in ‘sackcloth and ashes’. In the last seven years I’ve lost a dear friend and mentor, my husband, my father, my mother and now the one who wore sister-skin to me. We met in our twenties. Raised our babies together. Ministered together (church folk talk again). Our husbands were preachers which made us preachers’ wives. That meant we taught Sunday school together. We decorated bulletin boards by the hundreds. We taught the lessons of baby Jesus with flannel board figures and made handiwork applications for preschoolers and more. It meant we prepared communion trays. We invited people into our homes for supper followed by a Bible study before dessert. We taught Ladies Bible Class together. We walked side-by-side through the halls of nursing homes and hospitals. We prayed with those who were sick. We wept with those who loss family members. Our husbands were best friends. Her husband ‘preached’ my husband’s funeral. It was only natural that I ‘preached’ hers.
Life is a puzzle. It can take our breath away and/or bring us to our knees. But, it never ever waits for us to catch up. The best we can hope for is that life, while relentless, is made forever beautiful along the way by the ones we loved and the ones who loved us back.
That’s all I’ve got for now.