Friday, January 19, 2007

Another Funeral

Had another funeral today. There are some funerals that are tragic beyond measure, other times you can’t tell if we should grieve the loss or celebrate the life. Today’s was one of those. M was one of our many 90-something-year-0lds who eyes still flicker with wisdom and strength, even while their bodies are starting to shut down.

One thing you could say about M is that she was a survivor. I don’t know how many times she wrestled death to ground and won. Since I’ve been here in Lethbridge, we thought we’d lost her more than a few times and each time she bounced back. She wasn’t going gently into that good night. If death was going to take her, it would have to be while she was sleeping.

I think she gripped on to life with both hands because she worked so hard for everything she had and wasn’t going to let it be taken away from her.

She died the way we all hope to. She went to sleep and didn’t wake up the next morning. So, maybe it wasn’t death sneaking up, taking her while she wasn’t looking. Maybe her death was God’s final gift to her, after having to work so hard for everything she had. God let her just slip away. Gently. She closed her eyes in death and opened them again in the presence of God, where there is no more pain, no more tears, and no more sorrow.

Maybe that’s the message that God has for each of us, that faith is a gift. That God wants to be a sanctuary for us, a resting place for life’s long journey. That our calloused hands and muddy boots may make us strong, God’s gentle hand of salvation reaches out to us, and guides us home.

That is certainly true for M. May it be true for us as well.

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