life

Rest in Peace

My stepfather’s funeral was Monday.

And as is always the case at funerals, I wished I had better known the one being eulogized.

A friend of 50 years stood at the podium and shared that on one occasion, at the conclusion of a military event, my stepfather noticed that his coat was hanging next to the heavily decorated coat of a Russian general.  So he glanced to see whether anyone was looking and then reached into his pocket, retrieved a book of matches from the U.S. War College and slipped them into the General’s pocket, chuckling at the thought of that General moving to Siberia.

Ed’s longtime friend told many military stories – stories of toughness and fairness and excellence.

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It was those stories of toughness and fairness and excellence that made me wish I had known him better.

He concluded by saying that, aside from his own father, it was Ed who had the greatest influence on his life.

Even though Ed was technically my stepfather, I hadn’t known him as a father. I knew him as my mother’s husband – marrying after I was grown and out of the house.

As I sat beside my mother on the sofa in front of the casket learning more of who Ed was, I thought of the few stories I had of my own. Three.  None appropriate for sharing, but one truly eulogized him in the true definition of the word.

So I held that story in my heart and nodded my final respect as I watched a procession of soldiers pass by his casket each one stopping to salute the Colonel.

Then off to the cemetery for taps and a 21 gun salute.

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Rest in peace.

 

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faith, Jesus, love

Mercy

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I went to a funeral this morning. I didn’t know the man who died, I don’t know his family or friends.

I first laid eyes on him in church two weeks ago. He was standing in the middle of the aisle being anointed, prayed for and embraced.

 “You’re not going back,” the pastor, his cousin, said.

The man had been in and out of prison – mostly in – for thirty of his fifty years.

And then, two months ago, God, in His mercy, arranged his release. So he could reconnect with his family and friends. So his family and friends could reconnect with him.

Saturday morning the man got up, got dressed, went out for a bit and then returned to his apartment and very suddenly died.

And I love God. I love the gift He gave the man and the gift He gave the man’s family and friends. I love His omniscient and omnipresent care for each of us.

“He had a good heart,” the pastor said, “and he did a great job of caring for my father these past two months.”

And that’s why I went to his funeral.

I went to hear more about his good heart. I went to know a little something more about the One whose image he bore. I went because he is God’s handiwork, one of His masterpieces, and every one of God’s masterpieces ought to be seen and appreciated.

It’s not often that a secular rock ’n roll song is used for the postlude to a funeral, but today it was perfect.

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Jesus, life

His Name is Jesus

She died on Wednesday, just before 2:30 in the afternoon.

Her funeral was on Saturday at 10:00 in the morning.

I left the funeral and the post-funeral luncheon disturbed and disheartened, not liking my family much.  All kinds of thoughts swirled in my head and in my spirit.  Thoughts that have been swirling these four days since she passed.  I sat down to tell you about them, and now I’m thinking I’ll wait until they land.

But since many of you have been offering your kind prayers, I want to at least tell you that she passed.

An old friend of Laura’s, who worked with her way back in that doctor’s office I mentioned in the last post, offered her condolences at the funeral.  She shared that she lost her sister two years ago, and she’s lost both of her brothers since.  She is the only sibling left.  I offered my condolences right back to her.  She said there is something particularly hard about losing a sister and she just wanted us to know that she understands that.  She said, “No one writes about that.”

I might.  When I can.  When it all lands.

Laura posted this video on her Facebook wall last November and wrote, “My friends, what could make you feel closer to God? This was not about Carrie, it was about her relationship with God. That’s what makes it so beautiful.”

Amen, Laura.

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My sister, Laura
December 28, 1956 – August 26, 2015

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