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Posts Tagged ‘a funeral is good for the living’

Coming from a guy who loves life, I can’t believe that I am going to encourage funeral-a-week attendance. Ok, maybe every month? Oh, yes, even if we never knew the person. You might get some strange looks, but consider the benefits.

A regular visit to the dead can actually make us more alive.

A case in point was the memorial service of Tom Eames, the brother of a good friend. When the minister asked if there were any present who would like to say a few kind words, I remained motionless like most. But the whole atmosphere changed rather quickly when, one by one, friends of the deceased began describing the quality of faithfulness that Tom exhibited throughout his life. 

To a person, the overwhelming commonality of their brief talks was that they had a friend that they would deeply miss. And each testifier knew his life was richer because Tom’s life was now indelibly written on their own. There was a true heartbrokenness as each returned to their respective pew, hunch-shouldered and teary-eyed.

It left me with the obvious question: Do we speak of the living as well as we do of the dead? If we knew who was next, what impact would it have on our conversations with them? It also hit me that I was a bit envious of Tom. You see, there is no guarantee that my funeral would fill a church like his did. 

I really wonder if developing the habit of regularly attending funerals would truly help me grasp the value of relationships. Would going from funeral to funeral keep life’s poignancy utterly fresh in my mind? David, the brother of the deceased, reminded me that such a ritual was not really a novel idea.

“Better to spend your time at funerals than at parties. After all, everyone dies – so the living should take this to heart.” Ecclesiastes 7:2

As they say, funerals are for the living. Perhaps, by consistently burying some unkind words and thoughts and unearthing gracious ones, I might be the kind of friend who will fill the pews.

BELOW: UNDER THE CATEGORY OF “YOU-NEVER-KNOW,” TOM WAS THE BABY, BUT HE DIED FIRST. Image

JUDGING FROM THE TESTIMONIES OF HIS FAMILY AND FRIENDS, YOU COULD SAY TOM FINISHED STRONG:

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