Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Funeral planning


Yesterday I did some funeral planning. I have done this before with the grieving family. Usually the group sits sadly around the table. They tell little vignettes about the deceased. They wonder aloud which Scripture best fits their loved one, and what hymn he or she loved best. Unfortunately, that is usually the first time I have met the family and the deceased.

Yesterday was different. I actually met with the one who would be deceased. A dying person wanted to plan his burial in the church so his family and friends would not have to worry about planning a service, wondering what he might have preferred.

I looked down at our church’s planning sheet and began to ask questions, skipping the date for the funeral. The process was slow and we became easily distracted. The gentleman spoke a little about his life. I wanted to get back on track, back to the form.

I poised my pen over the paper, and I then I put the pen down. I realized that this man did not need me to fill out a form. He needed me to know who he was, who he is. He talked, I listened, and we laughed a little.

We can fill out that form later, maybe after a story or two and Communion. We will fill out that form when maybe in some small way I will be able to say that I know him a little better.
Ultimately, I think that each and every one of us wants to be known. We want to be listened to. We also want to be loved. The only way we achieve this, is if we are willing to enter into relationship.
This will indeed be a strange relationship. Bit by bit, perhaps we will fill out a new form of friendship.

2 comments:

Sassafras said...

What a blessing that you saw the true need of the moment. Another
instance of where God hikes holiness and Love. That we all may see
what is truly in front of us so clearly, and be willing to act authentically
in that moment.

Michael Bazemore said...

Very moving piece. This kind of interaction represents the one of the most important things we can offer one another, an ear to listen, a shoulder to lean on, whether for religious reasons or not. Your parishioners are lucky to have you.