Saturday, February 23, 2008
What Can You Do?
Today in about an hour we'll leave for the funeral service of Arlene. The Mr. is honored to have been chosen as a pall bearer. We'll sit with people I've known forever and people I haven't yet met and all will experience the loss of Arlene. Those of us who truly understood her will mourn for Barry and Amber, not Arlene herself.
Lots of people have asked me, what can I do? Actually, they've been asking for months. Sometimes the answer has been, "Give her a call or drop a card to her." Sometimes we were gathering at her home for prayer, sometimes agreeing every Wednesday to dedicate the day to her healing. For a time the answer was to make a meal for she and Barry. Often the answers were unique to the gifts of her friends.
Then she died on Wednesday and the questions came again. What can I do?
Let me tell you exactly what you can do.
I have been in the funeral home for two nights and will see Arlene's face for the last time in my mortal life this morning. This is stunning to me. As I have looked at my friend's beautiful and peaceful face, I know something for certain even beyond her presence in heaven. I know that like her Jesus, Arlene could say in her final breath, "It is finished."
Not life is finished. The work is finished. The call is finished, the purpose is fulfilled. There is nothing left undone. No love left unexpressed. No anger unsettled. No friend owed a phone call never made. No grand babies left without being held. No daughter left to wonder what her mom's thoughts and faith were. No husband left to worry over whether he made her happy.
We may have needed one more day, she did not.
Arlene spoke of orange flowers in her final days. Beautiful evidence of God's perfect hand in creation. Divinely formed for his pleasure.
Arlene allowed Christ to make and remake her. She continued to stretch herself out toward him until she became beautiful evidence of the divine.
What can you do? I don't know which of us will pass first. Maybe me. Maybe you. But if you go ahead of me, give me a gift. Let me sit in a funeral home and look into your face and know that it is finished. Let me not wonder if you ever made amends or stretched yourself fully toward heaven. Let your husband or wife not wonder if they made you happy.
Let me know that when you leave earth behind you, it is finished.
That's what you can do.