This morning I am thinking of goodbyes. I have a friend for whom we are babysitting today so she and her husband can attend a funeral. I have been thinking a great deal about this funeral for the past week for several reasons. One, I had met the woman who they are burying today and she was the sister/sister-in-law of a couple I have married. I had spent time specifically trying to get to know her and her siblings and sat with her for quite some time at the rehearsal dinner.
I can't say that I "knew" her as I had only met her a few times and had that one nice conversation with her over dinner. When I was informed of her death though I had a very clear image of her face in my mind. She had left an impression on me- one of quiet strength and yet vulnerability. Jovi and I had played with her son that evening too and I too easily pictured his loss as well as her husband's.
The other reason I have been thinking of the funeral, I was asked by a family member if I might be offered as a stand-in for a pastor for the burial in the event they were unable to locate a pastor for the burial today. I had quickly responded yes as, in addition to wanting to do whatever I could for this family at this time, I have been thinking over the past year about presiding over funerals.
I know this sounds morbid. Why would anyone want to do this. I can't quite answer this. I don't think it would be anything I that would have crossed my mind had my friend Jason, years ago, not contemplated having me preside over his father's funeral. Jason had an extremely difficult time finding someone to perform the service for his father as Jason lived out of town and his father didn't belong to any specific church community. He had asked me if I was willing to do this and I hesitated and suggested we look harder to find someone professional. At the end he was able to find an experienced person to perform the service, but the man had no connection to Jason, his father or the family in general. I regretted having pushed for someone else as I knew that I could have spoken to what Jason needed at the time much better than this gentleman had.
When I was asked this last week, I didn't hesitate as I felt that if the family decided this was what they wanted, or that they couldn't find anyone else, I might be able to relieve some amount of stress from their ordeal.
I can honestly say I am relieved that they found someone else to perform the service. I can also honestly divulge that I am more interested even now in being of service to others in this capacity. I have mixed feelings about that. What could my motivations be and is that weird to want to do that for others? I need to think about this one more.