Saturday, May 14, 2005

Holding on to what is precious

I think that few people enjoy going to funerals, but some funerals are better than others. I have been to funerals where you can tell that the church minister just has either never met the person we are saying goodbye to, or just never really knew them that well. Today we went to a funeral. Joe's best friend, Michael, said goodbye to his mother, Jan. Jan's brother, James, a church minister, conducted the funeral and it had to be one of the most tender and moving funerals I have been to. He spoke of her childhood, her growing up, her boyfriends, her love of gardening. It wasn't just about knowing Jan so intimately - he knew so many of the people sitting in the congregation and thanked them personally for coming. Jan will be missed.

Later on in the afternoon, I went to visit Shona. It almost seems like two opposites - Jan wanting so much to stay alive, battling with cancer. Shona wanting so much to let loose her grip on life, not really wanting at all to battle to stay alive. Jan surrounded and supported by so much love from friends and family. Shona choosing to be so alone and so isolated - cutting herself off from the people who care.

I talked about the funeral. Life is to be treasured and to be held as precious. But then Shona, perhaps sensing a reprimand from me, that wasn't intended, reminded me that it all depends on the kind of life that people have. Sometimes life, when it becomes endlessly painful, isn't something that someone wants to hold on to.

I am thankful that for me life will never be endlessly painful - painful? Yes! Endlessly so? No, not when I am a prayer away from a loving God.

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