We Mourn with Hope
I had the opportunity to attend four funerals this past weekend. Due to distance and time constraints, I was able to attend three of the four. One Baptist, One Methodist, and one Presbyterian. They held this in common - Jesus is the way and all these loved ones are safely home.
You might think the word opportunity an odd one to use. Funerals are sad occasions and not an event we look forward to attending. But they provide the chance to support, encourage, and console someone who is either directly or indirectly important to you. Attending shows you care.
Lena Gibson Row is the mother of my dear friend, Sherrie Silverstein. I met Lena once, but I've known Sherrie for 20+ years. Her mother's attributes of caring, strong work ethics, joy of living and traveling are evident in Sherrie's life. Listening to those who knew her best, made me wish I had the pleasure to have visited with her—I think the best eulogies make you sorry you didn't have the opportunity to know the person better.
My next-door neighbors are brothers, John and Grady McFarland. Grady had lived with John for 18 years. I've known him for 8 of those years. Grady loved Westerns, Bass fishing and carrot cake. John's stories of his life with Grady were heartfelt and comical, as brothers telling on each other can be. The pastor quoted Proverbs 22:1 "A good name is more desirable than great riches; to be esteemed is better than silver or gold." He shared how he witnessed Grady's good name. Grady was respectful and kind to all he met and according to John, could talk to anyone about anything for hours on end.
William "Bill" Reames—I cannot tell you how many wonderful conversations I have had with Bill over the past 30+ years. He was a Baptist minister then his ministry become that of a life insurance agent, which is the field where I met him. We have had conversations about our common beliefs and faith in Jesus Christ and we've laughed more than anything. He poured goodness into my life, and I am forever grateful. He cared deeply for his clients, and I can't tell you how many times he would say, "I wish you could meet my clients., they're the nicest people." Bill was one of the nicest people.
Being the most unexpected, William "Bill" McGuirt's funeral was the hardest. I never met anyone who didn't think the world of Bill. I also worked with Bill for 30+ years. The other lady in our office and I called Bill our other brother. He was always the voice of reason no matter the situation. The insurance world is a small one. My husband, Gil, also worked with and knew Bill. Gil recently shared a story with me that speaks the truth about Bill better than anything I can write.
Gil was asked by a friend to review his insurance coverage, during the course of the review, Gil saw Bill McGuirt's name on the paperwork and asked his friend if Bill was his current agent. The friend responded in the positive and Gil told him, "I'm not touching this. You couldn't be in better hands than Bill McGuirt's." Let me tell you, in the insurance world, you can't get higher praise.
Bill Reames and Bill McGuirt worked in the same agency as I and for many years I watched them go to lunch together. Our agency closed in 2014 and with that, going to lunches disappeared for these two. I couldn't help but think of them going to lunch together again, now that they are both safely home.
The ribbon of truth in all three of the services I was able to attend was that God's children were safely home. Grief is personal. No two people grieve the same and there is no right or wrong. As this new week began I thought of all the family here–not yet safely home. Your world will never look the same. Beds and rooms are empty, absent the sound of laughter, a cough, or the presence of another so dear to you, breathing. I mourn in hope with you.
"And now, dear brothers and sisters, we want you to know what will happen to the believers who have died so you will not grieve like people who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and was raised to life again, we also believe that when Jesus returns, God will bring back with Him the believers who have died." 1 Thessalonians 4: 12-14