Last week I attended the memorial service of a 74 year old man who was part of a homeless shelter in which our church participates. I had talked with him briefly, just a couple times. I attended the memorial service, not because I knew him well, but because of my ties with the shelter and love and appreciation for these men who are part of it.
I was astounded by how many people came for this service - so many relatives. I could not help but wonder, "Why was this man homeless if he had so many relatives? Why didn't anybody take him in?" At the same time, I thought, "Maybe, he didn't want to live with one of his relatives."
Anyway, as I sat and listened to the service, I heard a brief review of his life from his niece. I saw pictures from his past during a slide show. I listened to a couple of people from the shelter tell stories about their experiences with him. In a sense he "came to life" through what the different individuals shared. Life with its tragedies and disappointments and griefs. Life with its loves and joys and treasures. Life with its twists and turns. That is what we all experience, is it not?
There seemed to be one quiet constant at work within his life - God. He may not have been exuberant about his faith; after all, he was a quiet person. Yet, I heard stories about his faith in God. Faith in God in the midst of life - the tragedies, the joys, the ups, the downs, and all its surprises. We do not know what will happen in life. We might not even have a place to lay our head. But in all of life- no matter what is thrown at us - we may trust that God will be with us and he will bring us through every situation.
Isn't it amazing that at the death of a person we learn about life?
You can call me strange, but I like viewings and funerals.