Tuesday, February 26, 2013

What I Said at the Funeral

Judi's grandmother passed away last week, and the family asked me to perform the funeral.  Helen was an amazing lady.  Two tidbits that stood out from her obituary:  she and her husband were married for 68 years at the time of his death, and over the past several decades she'd spent over 17 THOUSAND hours volunteering at the local hospital.

Quick math tangent:  17,870 hours, divided by 24 hours a day, makes over 744 days.  If you went into a hospital, and volunteered every single minute of every day (no sleep, meals, or bathroom breaks) it would take you over two years to do that.  If you tried to volunteer 17,870 hours by working 40 hours a week, 52 weeks a year, it would take you almost a decade.  That's craziness.  And that doesn't count all of the cakes and blankets she made (at home, on her own time) for the hospital staff and patients.

The family asked me to perform the funeral, which was a first for me.  I've done a LOT of weddings, but this was my first funeral.  I spoke from the book of Job, chapter 7, where Job says that "life is a breath and our days are swifter than a weaver's shuttle."  Job's a tricky book to quote, because so much of it is stated by the Job and his friends but then refuted by God.

'loom' photo (c) 2009, Theyoungones1994 - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

I've seen a weaver's shuttle exactly once.  It was a lady over in Southeast Asia, weaving a silk tapestry.  For the most part, you couldn't really even see the shuttle because it moved so quickly.  Just a flash, and it was gone.  But then it came back for another round; another line of thread laid down, and another, and another.  Our lives pass so quickly as a series of moments that we can never get back.  But each moment is the basis for the next, and the one after that, and the one after that.  Over time, we see this succession of moments not as a pile of individual threads but as a solid fabric:  the tapestry of our life.

I spent the rest of the time talking about Helen's tapestry.  The three dominant colors in hers were generosity, service, and faith.  What will yours be?

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