I attended two funerals last week. I’ll admit I don’t like the reality of death. The Scriptures are clear – God created us to live forever. Instead death stole into the world, not as a welcomed friend, but as an enemy. So I have biblical support for my strong dislike of death.
But, though I despise death, I’ve come to appreciate funerals.
First, I appreciate funerals for the reasons we have them – they provide an opportunity to grieve our loss, to celebrate the life of a loved one, and to be with family and friends.
Yet there’s one more reason I’ve grown to appreciate funerals. It’s the serious perspective that can be gained, whether we like it or not, when we come face to face with death.
These funerals were for two very different people who died at two different places in their lives, one at the end of what we’d call a good long life, the other passed in mid-life. As I sat quietly in each service I asked myself two perspective giving questions. Each question had an eye on my potential funerals – one at the end of a long life and the other, more immanent, at mid – life.
The first question was simply “who’d be at my funeral and why”? The answer’s very revealing about the significance my life has had on others – whether it was positive, negative or neutral.
The second question is “what would be said about me?” Again the answer shines a needed light, showing what, if any, difference I made in the world. It also points to what I did or didn’t do with the gifts and abilities God gave me throughout my life.
So last week I not only attend two funerals, I had a needed perspective checkup on my life and how I’m living it.