“See You In Forever!”

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This past Friday I attended another funeral. This one was to say good-bye to the father of one of my childhood friends.

Funerals are difficult. You hurt for the people left behind; you hurt for the one who’s left, knowing their presence will be missed, that we’re all connected, and that when one of us is gone, something seems off kilter. Maybe, in the first place, because we were never supposed to die. Yes, I believe what Scripture says. It all makes sense when you take it all in — not just parts you pick and choose, but the whole picture, as much as we have of it on this side of life…

The morning seemed a little ominous at first, as there was a chance of rain. But while under the tent at the graveside, the partially overcast sky on this hot summer day was welcomed, and there was an unexpected refreshingly cool breeze during the service…

The pastor was amazing. A man probably in close to 80, he had a kind heart and warm smile. And when he spoke about God, you knew he knew Him, not just about Him. As he shared Psalm 23 and other passages, he didn’t read them; he knew them by heart, and he said them just the way you would imagine Jesus saying them.

He also reminded us that death is not the end, and to remember the good times, the happy memories. It’s always comforting to remember that these bodies of ours are just our vehicles for getting around on this planet. Won’t it be something to wander around Heaven someday…when we’re not restricted by gravity and time and boundaries of all sorts… My friend’s father is having the time of his life right now — and, along with Jesus, I’m sure his son met him at the gates and they had a beautiful reunion… I can just imagine it… And all the hurts and scars from this life melted away in an instant. Pure joy. Pure peace. Pure beauty.

At the end of the service, after the Naval tribute and the folding of the flag, after the prayers and blessings, after talking with the family, I saw the pastor start to walk away, and saw him brush away a tear. I got to talk to him for a bit, and as we parted, he reminded me that I was his sister in Christ.

“See you in Forever,” he said, and then repeated that with a bright smile and a wave.

Yes… See you in Forever… I love that. Heaven is Forever…

I attached a picture of a statue of Jesus that was near the grave of my friend’s brother. It kind of looks like He’s parting the stormy sky, separating the dark clouds from the bright blue sky. He does that for us, doesn’t He? He separates the death and casts it far away…forever…

By the way, as the day went on, the sun came out more and more, until those clouds were completely gone… I love when He does that…especially on days like that Friday.

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