A week ago, within the span of 48 hours I attended both a wedding and a funeral. What can I tell you about both?
People wear nice outfits.
Families come together.
There is usually a nice meal.
It got me thinking about why people cry. What makes people shed tears. I had a long drive home from the funeral and no CD player in my car so I had time to think. I came to the conclusion that people cry when they reach the edges of life. When they touch the extreme circumstances that life has. When they experience the most beautiful things or the most terrible things they have ever experienced. Something inside them says: "this is the most wondrous place I have ever gone before and I wish to return to this place forever," or "i cannot believe that I am enduring what I am enduring right now." On the edges of experience. The middle area, where things are neither exciting nor terrible, is the comfortable place. The place where tears are rarely seen.
I believe that I would like to be a person that cries more often. As it stands I do not cry very much. I think I am working my way there. Because I think ultimately the ability to endure, and live through, pain is a testament the the beauty and everlasting nature of life. I want to experience it all. I want to breathe in deep the sweetness of honeysuckle blossoms and cry at how delightful they smell, and weep when thousands of people die of a natural disaster over seas and gas prices are what worry me more.
The funeral I attended was for my great grandfather. He was ninety one years old. He was with my grandmother and they were discussing bread pudding recipes. He sat back and said:"...the Lord has been so good to me, and blessed me so much in my long life." Then he promptly went to the kitchen and grabbed a bag of trash to take downstairs and then outside. A moment later he had fallen down the stairs and died.
There is a story in the Bible about a man named Elijah. He did many wonderful things and a lot of things that made certain people mad. He was also very close with God. One day he is with his pupil walking along a river and a chariot of fire comes down from the sky and carries him upward to heaven, leaving behind only a mantle. I think that bag of trash was my grandfather's chariot.
I want to truly live while I am alive, so I can stand at the stairwell at the end of my life and be thankful that God allowed me to experience.
I think that if I ever get married, I would like The Flaming Lips song "Do You Realize?" to be played at some point. Also, when I die (because I surely will) I would like that same song to play at my funeral.
Rich Mullins sang a song that had a chorus that went like this:
But when I leave I want to go out like Elijah
With a whirlwind to fuel my chariot of fire
And when I look back on the stars
Well, It'll be like a candlelight in Central Park
And it won't break my heart to say goodbye.
I'm working on being more able to cry.