Everyone needs to go to a funeral now and then. Particularly one of someone your own age.
I went to a memorial service this week for the relative of a friend of mine. I went to support my friend and had never actually met the man that died. The man was my age, though, and tragically left behind a wife and a young son.
Despite the fact that I never knew this guy, this service moved me more than anything has in a while. While I know that all memorial services tend to focus on fond memories of the deceased – this one went far beyond the typical niceties. It quickly became evident that this young man had been absolutely knocking it out of the park as a husband, father, and man of faith.
There were lots of moving stories – snapshots of a man that genuinely cared and intentionally connected with every person he met – from his buddies at church to the Fed Ex guy that delivered things to his house. His wife wrote this incredible letter that they read - and basically said that she felt so treasured, that she would rather have been married to him for 10 years than have a lifetime with any other man on the planet. As they were going through his desk after he died, they found special cards this guy had already bought for his family – a typical practice, apparently, to express his love.
They ran this slide show in the background of this 90-minute service and it showed picture after picture of this man smiling and playing board games and vacationing and just goofing around with his son and his wife and various friends/family. You can’t fake the kind of joy and love in these photos. It was so striking I almost wished they’d just turn it off after a while so I could have a break from the emotion of it.
There are many other details I could share, but the main thing that struck me is how lazy I can get with my family and those I love. If I were to die today – while I’ve done a lot of things pretty well – I’m not sure I’d be satisfied. I’m not sure my slide show would be as full. I’m not sure that my wife would be so genuinely filled-up with love. I’m not sure that I would have demonstrated to my kids the kind of active faith in God that I want to.
This week I saw a glimpse of the potential. The service that you want to have. And it was humbling.
I hope it sticks with me. That the impact doesn’t just burn up in the frenetic blaze of life. Because each one of us is building a slide show. And there’s no time counter on it that tells you when it is going to end. It’s best not to save the good photos for later.
What pictures will you put in your slideshow today?