As a minister I am required to do many things, and I love them for the most part. I get the privilege of preaching and teaching the promises of God, perform Baby dedications, Baptize, Marry Couples, and help folks figure life out at times.
There is one part of my calling that I don’t particularly like, and that’s end of life situations and the funerals that follow. Over the past twelve years or more I have done literally close to a hundred funerals. I served as a chaplain in a hospital and dealt with death daily and it NEVER has gotten easier. In my first year as a lead Pastor I did eleven funerals. Sadly four of them were in one month.
So why am I writing about such a grim subject? Well after all of this time dealing with death, I find that I don’t do well with it anymore. In a five year span I lost my Mom, Papa, and Younger Sister all in a tragic sense.
It’s gotten to the point that celebrity deaths seem to put me in a grim mood. This year icons of my childhood have gone on. Betty White, Bob Saget, and today Louie Anderson and Meatloaf. I asked my self this morning as I texted friends about the deaths that happened why does this effect me like it does.
The answer came and to my surprise I am ok with it. Death itself doesn’t bother me as it, pardon the pun is a fact of life. It’s the sudden loss of a person that literally stings. To lose a family member or close friend mean that while on earth I will never be able to hear their voice in person, or eat a holiday meal. Losing so many family members really hits me during times when we would have gathered or if I need to call for advice or to share something funny.
I miss them simply not being.
The celebrity issue is similar. I before being minister I dominantly worked in record stores and movie theaters. So in some way we develop a closeness to certain performers. Betty White was the goofy Golden Girl while Bob Saget was America’s Dad in Full House. These two people were in my living room weekly. So what hit the hardest in these cases is that they were part of my childhood. Did I know them? No, but my sadness of their loss is still real.
I remember when Steve Clark, Def Leppard guitarist, died at a young age. It struck me in a way I now understand. I listened to Pyromania and Hysteria daily and was looking forward to the new CD, which would become Adrenalize. I remember thinking how horrible this was because I would never get to see him play live, and he wouldn’t be on any new cd’s. While some dismissed my emotion it was real.
I try hard t bring that empathy and sympathy to families that I help during these times. Grief is a funny thing as it doesn’t just stop. In some cases it gets worse, I know if I am being honest I still struggle with it myself.
Im my faith I believe that if you trust Jesus as Lord and Savior, there is Heaven. I know I’ll see my loved ones again. This is a great promise, but sometimes I’d like to pick up my phone or hop in my car and see and talk to them now.
This is not a post to preach or bum anyone out. I feel that expressing this will hopefully lead me and/or you to appreciate the lives of those whoa re not here anymore. The life and legacy will thrive if e just remember to pause and remember with laughter or ever a tear.
Just remember and sometimes the sting won’t hurt as bad.
“Death is nature’s way of saying, ‘Your table is ready.’” — Robin Williams