Thursday, February 18, 2016

Funerals, Weddings, and Moving Forward

My grandmother, one day long ago, expressed to my mother that she was feeling a bit lonely and downhearted.  My mother asked Grandma Hazel (her mother), "Why don't you go visit a friend, Mom?  That would make you feel better."

To which my ever acerbic grandmother tartly replied, "All my friends are dead!"
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There really is no snappy come-back for that one, is there?

We are at the stage in our lives where we attend more funerals and memorial services than we do weddings. It is the reality as you move through the third act of your life. 

Of course, we could simply not go; but somehow that seems disrespectful of those who enriched our lives while they were here, and whose remaining family members seem to appreciate those who come to honor the life of their loved ones.

However, in contrast, one of the nicest upsides to having dawdled about on the planet this long, is that we do get invited to quite a number "Golden Anniversary" parties.  We attended another just last Friday evening.  What a wonderful inspiration the happy couple have been to all who know them.

It was fun to watch the slide show of them in their younger years, when he still had hair and she still had a slim waistline.  Fifty years, five children, and many trials and triumphs later, there they were - gladly smiling down on the rest of us from their own personal Olympus of fidelity and loyalty.  I say good for them!
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Matthew admonishes us to "let your light shine before men so that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven."
(Matt. 5:16)

Excellent advice. 

However, I don't know about you, but my light has been doing a little flickering lately - putting out a fairly steady beam at times, and then dimming abruptly when confronted with the daunting darkness of our times.

Horrible public discourse, of a type and stripe designed to make all but the most insensitive cringe with shame at the depths to which we, as a country, have fallen in our coarsened diatribes.

The papers (yes, we still subscribe to those antiquated missives) filled with tales of crimes so cruel and degrading that we sincerely wish they would spare us the details.  The Bible tells us that some things ought not to be spoken of in public.  Too true.

And then will come some call to action, some invitation to carry on that is so strong and good that we can only ask God to give us strength and then begin to put one foot in front of the other.

In that vein I think of the young mother of three, the youngest just barely a month old, who I recently heard speak.  She was on her way back to Africa, with her husband and two slightly older children.  To live among those whose customs and values are so very different.  And yet she spoke with love and joy, looking forward to returning to that blighted and dangerous place.  The love of God compels her.
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May His love compel us to carry on, to move forward, despite frailty and fear, despite heartache and disappointment.  For we do, indeed, have a "city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God."  All we have to do is to allow His love to compel us to keep going.   # # #
May you find the strength and joy to keep going today.  Blessings to you ~ your fellow traveler, Marsha