I went to my great-grandma’s funeral yesterday (11.30.11). I have to say that it was one of the best services I had been to for the departed and the living. I learned much about her that I had not previously known, for I was never very close with her. In my mind she was always smiling, ready to laugh, and genuine. I did not know, however, her life story (and still do not for the most part). If you understood my family dynamics you would know why I was not too close with her. This hit me as profoundly sad while I was sitting there, for she seemed to be a wonderful woman, indeed. I sat there imagining all the things I could have learned from her. Advice on marriage (she was a widow), being a parent (she had five kids), money and perseverance (she survived both World Wars and the Great Depression), God (she is a Christian), and so on. I feel as though I missed out on a gift God had fashioned for anyone to come along and enjoy the treasure of her heart and mind, except I never gave myself the opportunity to open that treasure chest.
At the end of the service, as I was in prayer for my grandma and grandpa (it is a strange thing to see a man, 6 foot 4 inches tall, over two-hundred pounds, tough as nails, crying, but not so strange), the pastor invited us up to the front, row after row, to peer into the casket for our own sense of closure. I was in line right behind my father, and as I looked upon grandma these words popped into mind: I’ll see you later Grandma B.
There is the Christian hope.
I thanked God for her and as I turned I saw my family and it pierced my heart to recognize how many around me could not say the same thing I said. It dawned on me, then, just how sad life and death are for someone without Jesus Christ. If some in my family were to die tonight, I know for certain they would not see Grandma B again, but they would know judgment. I weep for those who do not know Jesus. Not only will they never see certain loved ones again, but they will be eternally separated from the Giver of life. Have you thought about eternity? Have you thought about eternity without the ones you love? The funeral service, as the saying goes, was not for the deceased, but for the living. Grandma B’s funeral was a stark reminder that without Christ, you will be eternally lost. I know Grandma B is, I say “is” because…well, she is still a Christian, through her verbal profession and the way she lived her life (both are important).
I know that she is rejoicing with her Savior, and I know that one day I will see her again and we can catch up on all the things we missed. For now, I may be sad that I did not get to know her as well as I should have, but it is comforting to know we will have eternity together. Through Christ’s sacrificial death and bodily resurrection, I will be with Grandma B again, and maybe she will continue to make her quilts and journal and bake, and smile.