Yesterday I buried another airman. Funerals never get easier, and if they do, I think one ought to consider an AED shock. I’m not quite sure where I am going with this post, but there are just some things that are busting at the seams to get out of my heart. I was glad that I didn’t bother with make up yesterday. Not intentionally, I was just lazy. But as we trickled into the chapel and I was led to my seat, the ominous weight of the sorrow in the atmosphere was tangible and heavy. I had met Airman Chad Boles a couple of times, but did not know him well. But I knew he had left a young wife. He also left a 7 month old daughter. Knife to my heart every time I think on that. I wish I could share her picture with you. Mmm-mm that sweet baby with the bright blue eyes and chubby Gerber baby cheeks. 🙂 She is a sure magnet for anyone drawn to babies. She cooed and giggled and squawked through the entire memorial, blissfully ignorant of how dramatically her life had just shifted.
Funerals are interesting ceremonies, aren’t they? How do you do something right that just generally feels so “wrong” at it’s core? Chad was 23. A good ole boy from South Carolina. His wife of 5 years/high school sweetheart, Lauren, and his father, Ron, both spoke through broken, faltering, words. There are two fundamental things that death generally forces us to consider anew: life and after-life. Lauren spoke about how she knew he was in Heaven, in a better place, and one day she would meet him there where she would once again hold him and would never have to let him go again. Ironically, I have been thinking a lot about Heaven the past couple of weeks. The sermon series on Revelation kicked it into high gear. I love the idea that we will finally be the perfect creation that God originally made us as. Not only will we be perfect, but so will the new Earth. And our new life.
Amid the many things that Lauren expressed in the eulogy, she looked the audience in the eyes and with fervor and pleading conviction sobbed the words that sliced into my marrow:
“Go home tonight to your loved ones. Gather them up and kiss them and hold them tight. Make amends with broken relationships. And don’t fight because it isn’t worth it, and you never know when it is your last day.”
When the hardships of life careen into us and break apart our microcosmic living long enough for us to lift our heads above the details right in front of our eyes and receive clarity on what matters in this life, it sounds like Lauren’s words and it feels like her words. It shakes you. It alters your perspective and your life.
Christ explained that the two main points of living are to love God and love other people. Those two acts are so deeply intertwined that you cannot very well do one without the other. If only it was as simple as choosing to love in order to mend and tend relationships. But this Earth is broken from sin. I could love everyone perfectly and still have broken relationships. Thank God that in death, He makes all things new. I can hardly fathom what a world and life of perfect relationships looks like or how it will operate, but I believe that it is so because God just wouldn’t have it any other way. My precious, Lord, how I thank You for Your goodness. How You have not ceased to drive this human race and this Earth towards a future that is good and does not know sorrow. Thank You, Father.
You see, the thing that I have been so thankful for also is the fresh knowledge that in my future with God, I am freed on this earth from striving to create the heaven that my inmost being craves and longs for. I simply serve Him on this Earth and know that when I go to be with Him, every desire and hope will be fulfilled. Man, does that take the pressure off. No, I do not know what Heaven will be like, but I do know that it is better than I could ever conjure in my wildest dreams.
1 Cor 2:9 says: as it is written “What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived” — the things God has prepared for those who love him–these are the things God has revealed to us by his Spirit. The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God.
I know to my core that when I am face to face with my God, everything will be perfectly as it should be. No more tears, or death, or widows, or orphans, or goodbyes, or cancer my sweet Rorie. No war. No hatred or fighting or anger or brokenness. Wholeness and complete perfection brought by the majesty of the Lord. Hallelujah!