Monday, September 12, 2011
I've had a whirlwind of a week, It has been an emotional roller coaster as well as a physical drainer. But it has been so rich and sweet.
Why is it that most of life's truest experiences are such a paradox of emotions?
My beloved, sweet Uncle Stan died a week ago after a very brief and unexpected illness. I say that even though he was 84 years old. Stan was one of the most fit, youthful, people I have ever known and I've known him my WHOLE life. He and my dad were best friends who married sisters. Can you imagine anything sweeter? Both of our families' lives paralleled each other in many ways. My parents and my aunt and uncle got married a year apart and a day apart. My mom and her sister are so similar that they often buy each other the same gift or wear the same color or similar outfits. Each family adopted 3 children and we were all "matched" in age. We spent countless hours together as children and to me, my cousins (as were all my cousins) were more like siblings than "relatives". I've mentioned before that we took many trips and vacations together and our lives intertwined like a seamless garment.
I was incredibly honored when my aunt asked me to sing at Uncle Stan's funeral. Last Wednesday I drove up to Illinois by myself to attend the visitation, funeral and spend time with my family, though it was much too brief.
On Saturday I drove home and am now back to reality. It felt so wonderful to be back in the warm cocoon of my "growing up" family. I saw people--hundreds of them--at the visitation that I hadn't seen in years, some, for decades. It was very hard to say goodbye to the people I love so much again. It seems like all I've done for 28 years is say goodbye to them. And our time together is always too brief.
Being at the funeral made me realize something more important, though. These people that I love so very dearly are all going to"leave" me someday in a way that I can't quite grasp onto in my finite mind. They will depart this life and the "cocoon" of our fellowship will be diminished by their passing. But the joy of a future reunion is what keeps me going. I KNOW without a doubt that I will see my Uncle Stan again and he will be strong, healthy and vibrant again. He'll be waiting with my dad and lots of others that by then will have joined the eternal "party" before me. Maybe I will get there before some of them. We don't know.
But what we DO know is that Jesus promised us that if we trusted Him we would be together FOREVER one day WITH Him and each other.
I don't think I shall ever forget the sight of my dear aunt walking into her husband's funeral. The congregation was singing How Great Thou Art. The immediate family sang as well while they entered the sanctuary and she was singing with her head and hands uplifted to Jesus in praise, tears streaming down her face as she sang.
My heart is overcome with thanks for a heritage like this.