I always write these posts the night before I post them, so I’m sitting here, at 9:30 p.m., at my computer deciding that I’m going to step away from my normal routine.
We went to the memorial service of a friend of over 40 years’ standing. He died of pancreatic cancer a couple of weeks ago, and the family wanted to make sure all the relatives who needed to travel would be able to enjoy the service.
The church auditorium was full. I’m guesstimating maybe 500-600 people were there tonight. Lots of family, lots of friend, lots of friends who were like family. It was really like a big family reunion, and it was wonderful. Of course there were tears, Rich was a kind man, gentle in his manner but very strong in his faith and practice. His children adored him, and he and Diane were married for just over 50 years. They created together a rich heritage for the children and grandchildren; a heritage of giving, serving, encouraging, and loving others. The hundreds of people who were there to honor Rich was testimony to their legacy.
The music was amazing, uplifting, and brought me to tears. There’s nothing quite like singing together with several hundred other people who all love the music the same way.
At the end, two men that I love to hear sang the wonderful song Almighty God. It’s a magnificent song, and I was mopping my eyes all the way through.
We know Rich is in heaven, praising the God he loved and served all his life. We rejoice that he is free of pain, enjoying his new body, singing with the heavenly chorus a hallelujah that I just can’t wait to hear, and to join in singing. Still, we will miss him. This is going to be a year of firsts for my friend. Diane is a strong, godly woman, and she’s going to need that strength to get her through the first Thanksgiving, the first Christmas, and so on. She will cry, because that’s what she does. The tears will bring her relief, and she will enjoy Christmas with her family and friends.
Sometimes it seems like there have been too many funerals, but I know there are going to be lots more before it’s my turn to see the Lord. It’s a sad farewell, but a glad hello for Rich.