Each new day is a gift. That is why it is called "the present."
Photograph by David Lawrence.
Today I sang with a choir at a memorial in honor of a man I never met. I wish I had known him. He was a close friend of the pianist for our group and thus our invitation to sing at his memorial service.
It was the first funeral/memorial service I have attended since my mother died three years ago next month. And I could not help but contrast the circumstances with her own service.
Today's memorial was held in a large hall with many people in attendance. It was full of ceremony and symbolism, as he was a member of a fraternal order whose members had gone to a good deal of effort to honor their friend. There were flags, and poems, and flowers, and bells tolling ... and best of all a number of heart-felt eulogies.
To a man (and woman) they spoke of his loyalty - if you were a friend of Larry's, you had a friend for life. They talked about his generosity - if you needed a helping hand, he was your man. They enjoyed reminiscing about his sense of humor - if you could not take a little ribbing, you might find yourself a little out of your comfort zone around Larry, who like to "stir the pot and shake things up a little."
I'm pretty sure I would have liked Larry a lot.
He was not sitting in the seat of honor reserved for him today.There was, instead, an empty chair. He was absent. But he was very much present in every look on the faces of his loved ones - a large and blended family, who acknowledged that it had not always been easy; but it had turned out to be worthwhile. They smiled at remembered antics, and his sometimes goofy proclamations.
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There were only about two dozen people at my mother's services, and nearly all of them were family. Mom was not an easy person to get to know, as she was very reserved and could be quite critical of others. Furthermore, as I have sadly observed, she had no discernable sense of humor. It just seemed to have been left out of her makeup.
She struggled with depression and loneliness a good portion of her life; always seeming to find it difficult to "fit in" as she hoped to do. Still, she was a generous and giving person. I admired her courage and her perseverance more than anyone I have ever known.
She is absent - for almost three years now - but rarely does a day go by that I do not recall something she taught me or said to me, or simply lived before me.
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Whether we are well known, and much loved, or little known and missed by only a few; we all can live our lives in such a manner that for someone, we will still be present, even after we are absent.
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We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord. wherefore we labour, that, whether present or absent, we may be accepted of him. (II. Corin. 5:9 & 9 (KJV)
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Hope you are very much present in your own life today. It is a sad thing is to still be here and yet be absent from your own life. Until next time ... Marsha