It’s a weird thing to attend a funeral of a young person. Young is relative, of course. In this instance, young is not much older than I am. Young is the parent of not-yet-teenagers. Young is that weird place between being an adult and having a family of one’s own, but still very much being daughter and sister first or at least in equal force to wife and mom. It might have been a sad time in that space, and maybe it should have been under the circumstances. But what I heard and felt seemed full of certainty and faith.
The church overflowed with people who wanted to honor this young woman and her families. The scriptures read spoke of God having prepared a place for her. The songs spoke of grace and being received. The message was one of her nearness to God, especially and even despite the final years. In the thick of that, what is the right response? I don’t know, but I felt gratitude.
Gratitude for the faith this woman apparently had that landed me in a church on a Tuesday thinking about my own relationship with God. Gratitude for the ability to sit in her church and receive a message of comfort, feeling, and even an urgency to spend the days drawing nearer to God. Gratitude for the pillow a gentleman down the aisle offered me so that I could comfortably kneel on the concrete floor. Gratitude for the faces I recognized around the room, who stood together to honor, not only the one lost, but the sister she left behind. Gratitude for a community that collectively paused in support. Gratitude for my sweet mom whose heart broke for a little girl who wore a cast on her arm as she sat mourning the loss of the woman on the planet who loved her most.
Even when the world is hard, there is so much beauty in it.
There was a great deal of beauty today in that space, despite the loss, despite the sadness, despite the tears. Or maybe because of them.
Every funeral I attend makes me think of my own. I hope my own funeral feels something like this one did. I hope it’s obvious that I both loved and was loved. I hope it’s obvious that I loved God and was received by God in my death. I hope I’m in a church that knew me and and my family. I hope all of my worlds and people who love my family or families come together in a space that mattered to me. And most of all, I hope that people gather, maybe on a random Tuesday, and pause long enough to think about who they are, who God is, and what they are to do in this space with the time they have.