Recently I attended one of the most joyful events I’ve attended in quite a while. There were music, flowers, funny stories and love throughout the building.
It was a funeral, a service for a man who died far too young from a disease that is associated with much older people.
His memory, his speech and his ability to live at home all were lost. No matter how much he surrendered, however, it was evident that day that some things could never be taken from him: the love of his family, his sense of humor and his love of the Lord.
I have attended services where the minister asked if anyone would like to share a memory and maybe two or three would step forward. Here, though, for nearly an hour, family, friends, church members and co-workers shared their memories of the man they called husband, dad, brother, uncle, brother-in-law, father-in-law, pastor, schoolmate, jokester and friend.
Recalled in great detail, their encounters ran the gamut of emotions. They ranged from wanting to date his daughter, being non-judgmental when he was told of indiscretions, to being there when someone was in the “darkest days of their lives.” Remembered were kind words, a knowing smile and a shoulder to cry on.
This man left many legacies. I think the greatest is a legacy of joy. The Bible says in Nehemiah 8 that the “joy of the Lord is our strength.”
How many of us really take the time to look for the joy that seems to be so hidden in our lives? We complain, feel sorry for ourselves and become hopeless. Yet we should be encouraged to find that place of comfort and joy that comes when we trust God to meet us in those dark places.
I can’t imagine what dark places were in the mind of this man, but I believe that his love of God overcame those fears. Those dark places were always filled with the love that God had for his very precious child.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful to be able to leave such wonderful memories for our families and friends when we die? Of course, the most wonderful legacy we can leave behind is the testament of our faith, the trust we have in God, and a life lived in service to the Lord.
This man’s son said that his father had “left his thumbprint on those who knew him.”
In that same way, I feel that God’s fingerprints were all over this man; fingerprints that nothing could ever take away.
Mary Alice Weimer, one of The Star’s 13 Faith Walkers, can be reached at faith@kcstar.