In sixteen years of ministry, I’ve presided over about seventy funerals.
Often, waiting backstage before the service, I feel surprising joy. “Calm yourself down,” I say. “Stop putting the fun in funeral.”
But it’s hard to suppress. I suspect I’m connecting with the liberated soul of the deceased. Plus, I know that when we step onstage to celebrate a life, there will be an avalanche of love, loss, and beauty.
Everyone dies too soon. Everyone has a rich past no matter how impoverished they seemed. Every deceased soul, (if they happen to be eavesdropping on their own funeral) gets to hear a ton of nice things said about them. This happens even if the deceased was flawed and sometimes unlovable.
And here’s the dearest thing – young people who die, children and young adults, are as significant in their impact on loved ones as those who have lived decades.
Everyone matters at funerals. Funerals are beautiful.
The best funerals tune our living heartstrings with joy, regret, and the chance to be better. It’s not a matter of self-improvement for we already are everything. It’s a matter of living anew with the grace we’ve been given.
You won’t escape death. That’s a blessing because there’s always resurrection.
You also will not escape the outpouring of love at your funeral. I’ve seen it happen too many times.
So now, while you’re living, and getting ready to doubt your worth, you must imagine that someday someone will stand at a lectern and eulogize you.
Most assuredly, they will talk about how meaningful, and special, and dear you were to everyone.
What if you could believe in your timeless goodness before you die?
What if you could live as if your eulogy is true?