This has been kind of a weird week for me. It started with the death of my wife’s grandfather. Then came the devastation of the earthquake in Haiti and the ridiculous religious controversy following it. Finally, tonight, at the junior high church event I help out at every week, the students were mourning an eighth grade boy who recently committed suicide. While none of these things led directly to personal grief, my heart is broken to see people I love and care about grieving, in one case, a long expected loss, and in another, and unexpected and tragic one.
As I sat in that funeral yesterday morning, a number of things were going through my mind. We were celebrating the life of a man who was remembered by his acts of service to others, who worked hard to take care of the people he loved and often people he had never met before. As I heard story after story along these lines, I started to wonder (and this is going to sound morbid to those of you who don’t know me) what kinds of things people will say at my funeral. What if I died tomorrow? Would I be remembered as a man who lived his life to serve and love others, who modeled his life after Christ and shared his faith through active love and service? Or would people struggle to come up with something to say about me? As I write this, I realize it could come across as selfishly motivated and prideful, but what I really am trying to say is that through the death of an incredible family man, I was inspired to try and follow his example and become a great servant. It is, after all, what Jesus did.
Now comes the part where a lot of you will think I’ve gone completely off the deep end. Through all of this tragedy and loss in my family, in Haiti, in the ending of a young life, the most overwhelming feeling I have is one of hope. During my grandfather-in-law’s funeral one of the pictures playing in the slide show projected on the wall was one of his baptism. Story after story was told about how he put his faith into action through service. I have no doubt he is now resting peacefully in the arms of his God. I have hope because I know no matter what kinds of horrible and tragic things happen in this world, someday I will be able to have that same peaceful rest. And I have hope because all of the evil and painful things that exist all around us will one day be destroyed and a new, perfect creation will replace them. And thank God for that.