Thursday, December 13, 2012

The Mighty D.

I had the privilege of attending a funeral today.

A privilege?  Yes.  There are two kinds of funerals: those that are filled with sadness and yet hope and those that are simple sad.  I have attended both kinds.

Today's was one of the former, for a woman I only knew briefly and in passing.  Her son and Nighean Dhonn shared a class for 3 years.  I would not have met her except that I ran in a 5k in October for a fundraiser for her.  She passed on Saturday night.

To listen to those that spoke - her father, her brother, her friends, her husband - was to listen to the story of a woman who knew what she believed and firmly lived it out, even in the face of living with the specter of and then the actual event of cancer.  To hear of someone who lived their their life to the fullest to the very last moment possible.

She died at 38.

It was a thing to think of as we wended our way back to the car after the service and after-meal.  The winter sun had heated the air a bit and the day was quite pleasant.  I had fully intended to return to work but the hour had grown too late for any productive work, and suddenly the reality of life made this seem to be not the most important thing in the world.

As I went about my business in the afternoon I did not plan of having, I found my thoughts drifting back to the morning, trying to distill what I had heard and experienced into something I could apply.  Truths are seldom presented more clearly than in the light of death - the challenge is to determine what do with them.

1)  We are never more than what we give of ourselves to others.   What came through the conversation and the stories of the afternoon was not what others had done, but what D had done for others.  Even in her pain.  Even in the uncertainty of dwelling under the Shadow of Death.

2)  We are never more ourselves than when we live for Another.  Specifically one Other - Christ, the Son of God.  Only through living out Him in our daily lives, by being not only those hands and feet of service but the eyes and ears of listening and compassion, the voice of life and encouragement, the brain of planning and executing the Plans of Another.  What we do here for ourselves stays here.  What we do for others in the name of Christ and for Christ Himself goes farther our eyes can ever see.

In reality, we all live under the Shadow of Death.  Most of us choose not think of it unless it is thrust into our face, but it remains true.  We would be wise to consider how we spend our lives in light of that fact.

Requiscat in Pace, Mighty D.  Your race is run.  May you inspire those who remain behind.

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