We are called to, “rejoice with
those who rejoice,
weep with those who weep.”
Romans 12:15 (ESV)
On February 1, my late husband Sam’s and my best friends, Jon and Cheryl suffered a loss when Jon’s dad died. The following day, my dear friend Bettye’s husband, Mike died.
But what of we who are left behind? It’s not about me, but I am bruised because painful memories of Sam’s death flood my being. Jon, Cheryl, Bettye and their beloveds are also bruised because the ones they’ve loved have been ripped from their (our) presence.
But you know what? Bruises heal. They really do! And the healing starts with “homegoing” celebrations. Why “homegoing?” Because Ed (Jon’s dad) and Mike are now at home in the presence of their Savior, Jesus Christ. Hallelujah!
Ed was a Marine, and Mike was a pastor, but they were first children of God. I prayed a selfish prayer that the memorial services for them would be on different days because I needed to be there for all of my friends. Whew; they were.
The Gospel was shared at each service, praise God. Ed’s was a more solemn funeral, mostly because of the marine who played “Amazing Grace” on the bagpipes and the two servicemen who saluted Ed as they reverently folded the flag that draped the casket and presented it to Ed’s brother, Bill. We all wept.
Mike’s service was a celebration from start to finish, with music that befitted the man who hailed from the South. Yes, there was weeping, but there was also great joy; it’s what Mike would have wanted. And on the second day in a row, I was able to hear “Amazing Grace” played on bagpipes. “How sweet the sound…”
As God used my beloved friend, Tampa to buttress me after Sam died. (Tampa’s husband went home to heaven six years before Sam), so too I know He will use me to help Bettye through this difficult adjustment. I tell people it’s a (pardon my choice of adjective) sucky club to join, but I thank God for the people He uses in our lives. No other person understands being a widow better than another.
Tampa told me that I would face hurdles as I walked the road up the mountain of grief. God brought me her. God, I believe, brought Bettye and me together as dear friends so we could climb together. And when she needs a hand up, I’ve been there; I know how to avert the hurdles.
Dear ones, it’s only by the grace of God that we fully face the death of a loved one. As Christians, we know that closed eyes here open to a world of unimaginable beauty and joy in heaven. It’s okay to suffer the bruises, because Jesus heals them. And it’s a privilege to be used by God to help another remember all of His promises. That’s one of the reasons I write–to be used.
Use me! I am here.