The day started with Marie and I waking up and getting ready for my grandmother's funeral. At church, I was able to see a lot of family. I also met some family that I didn't know. I also met family that I did know that I didn't know was family (neither did they). During the funeral, I heard things about grandma that I didn't know, things that I did know and forgot, and things that I remembered and cherished. She was such a woman of faith. I forgot that she was in the women's club at church, but hearing that made me remember going with her when I was younger to help fold the bulletins at church. I also forgot that she was such a great cook. That brought back memories of big family thanksgiving dinners and other meals. I was so eager to forget about my childhood I forgot a lot of the good memories of my grandmother. It made me happy to have those memories be recalled, and made me regret the time that I didn't spend with her by choice. It was good to celebrate the life she had on earth.
Being a pallbearer though had an effect on me that I didn't think it would. I know at the funeral, she was no longer with us, but yet getting to be a part of putting her earthly dwelling at rest was meaningful. That was only this side though. I know the moment she passed, grandma left this earth to join Christ in heaven and rejoin those loved ones that have departed before her. She also probably got to meet many other people that she never knew in this world but is now part of her family, including people like Abraham, Moses, Joshua, Elijah, David, Paul, Peter, and other countless people whose stories are told in the Bible, as well as those who are less well known to us but are still part of the Christian family.
My sister Kari read a poem at the funeral that I really liked the imagery of. It was of a ship sailing from out side out into the ocean. We watch with sadness as it disappears, yet we know that as soon as it does, it comes into view of a crowd on the other side gathered around to greet it. It really made me think about how we gather together on this side to say goodbye to her, she's already joining that crowd on the other side. I'm sure she embraced grandpa as he was waiting next to Christ for her. She's at home now, finally resting and peaceful, and waiting for us to join her.
After celebrating my grandmother's life and her uniting with Christ in eternity, we moved to a different kind of celebration of life and uniting in Christ. My cousin Katie was married to a man that obviously made her happy and meant the world to her. Getting to hear the stories of their first date and the time they spent together was infecting as it made me feel the joy they had together. At the reception, we joked and laughed and danced. I know that Grandma would have been more than happy that we celebrated with Katie instead of sitting at home. It was a great ending to the day. It may be weird to say, but I can't think of a better way to end a day that started with a funeral than to end it with a wedding. Christ was present through the whole day and He made evident more than ever that He is with us through every stage of life. We have an awesome God and I am thankful for the experience I had this Friday the 13th.