This young man was known and loved by many. His parents and their siblings were childhood friends of ours. When we heard the bad news, we were miles away visiting my oldest brother and his wife. We arrived home the night before the funeral service, tired from our travels, but made even more weary as we contemplated the burden our friends were carrying. We talked briefly about driving the the service but Pop was scheduled to drive to an out of town meeting and snow was expected during the night. As we drifted off to sleep the winds began to howl.
We began our day the next morning, hands clasped and praying as is our habit now. As Pop prayed for the family, the desire to attend the service grew stronger than our common sense to stay off the roads and out of the weather. We would have to leave in just minutes...could we make it? What does it look like outside? Which highway would be the most clear?
We couldn't stay away; nor could my brother just older than me who started in to work and called his wife to tell her to be ready to go.
There are just no adequate words at a time like this. All we could say is, "We are so sorry." Parents are supposed to grow old and die before their children. It just seems to make more sense.
The church was packed and the motorcade long. In spite of snow and wind, many friends came to the cemetery...love in action. The cafe and pizza place in the small town had larger lunch crowds than usual today so we could all visit with the family afterwards...more love in action. We saw many familiar faces...hugs...smiles through tears...one old friend said he just doesn't understand but knows God does.
We left richer than when we came...rich with the knowledge that as this young man's family and friends grieve, they will be not be alone. They will be uplifted and loved as they put one foot in front of the other in the days to come. God never leaves us nor forsakes us and one fine day it will all make perfect sense; but for now, Pop and I are praying for God's loving presence and for warm and loving memories of this young man at just the right times...memories that will sustain them...memories of loving and being loved.
And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.(1 Corinthians 13:13)