In the past five months I have attended three funerals.
The first was for a twenty three year old woman who was tragically killed by a drunk driver (also killed). In the midst of the devastation of this loss, the Lutheran pastor read aloud this young woman’s Confirmation Essay, the theme of which was “I am not afraid”. Her astonishing words were that, because she believed, she was not afraid of death. She knew that she belonged to the Lord. What strong grounded words these were for those in attendance, she had written herself not that many years earlier.
The second funeral was for a seventy seven year old woman who had battled cancer. She had a very large family, The Pastor chose the theme of family roots, and that these roots must be nurtured and tended to be strong. It was clear to all that this woman gave her life in nurture of her family, but also also served her Church in countless ways. What deep roots of family and faith her life gave testimony to.
The third funeral was for a 94 year old cousin. She was a constant, kind presence. I will miss her very much. A former elementary school teacher, she also served her Church for decades. The Union Protestant Pastor spoke about how, as believers, we know a room has been prepared for her and for us, and yes, we should grieve, but with this knowledge in mind. My cousin was a witness to this.
St. Francis taught us to see that all life is a sacred testimony. I think of Francis when I see the grapevines in the Mary Courtyard at St. Anthony’s. Grounded, rooted, year after year they testify to their purpose and wrap themselves around their support and are not letting go. They teach me each time I see them, about the Lord of the Vineyard. I pray that you and I grow just this way, grounded, rooted, testifying, witnessing.
P.S. As is my custom, I share a sketch I have done on this theme.