I recently went to my first funeral. It was not anyone I knew, I was asked to handle the slide show by my pastor at the church where the funeral was being held. I was very reluctant at first. I took the majority of the day he asked me to answer the request because I was quite anxious to go to my first funeral, something I felt I had been lucky enough to avoid all of my life.
I expected funerals to be like in the movies; very melancholy, dark, gloomy, and maybe even a little ominous. I figured though that it would only be an hour of easy work, I would get paid and the church needed somebody to do it.
Even though it was a relatively small task to press the next button on a keyboard, I figured I could serve my church this way even if it was only a little bit of work.
I swallowed my fear the morning of the funeral, clad in a black shirt and pants as I thought would be the attire of such an event. Upon walking through the doors, I was quite surprised. There was much talking and even a little bit of laughter coming from the attendees of this funeral. People were not wearing black colors, excluding the two pastors and the funeral service director. Within ten minutes of the actual funeral proceeding the atmosphere robbed me of any anxiety I had at that moment. I read the obituary, and the individual (whom will remain unnamed) had written it themselves.
It was a beautiful story of this person reminiscing on their life lived the way they wanted to and the sights they had seen and the experiences they had gotten to enjoy in their long and fruitful time among us. In a single moment, when we were all singing Amazing Grace, one of my favorite religious songs, it dawned on me that while it was a time for mourning of this individuals passing, it was more importantly a celebration of life.
When I left the church and headed home I brought back a lesson with me. I was awarded by god through doing this small favor for my church and stepping out of my comfort zone. I brought back an enlightenment that has further evolved with this question, “before I die I want to what?”.
I still only have vague answers for it, but I know I want to do something suited for me in the same capacity that the individual whose funeral I had attended had done. To quote a small, laminated poster on my math teachers podium in the eighth grade, “When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left, and could say, ‘I used everything you gave me’”. Through a quick google search, I found the individual who spoke this quote was Erma Bomback.
So, in the same theme as the boards now posted in Second Century Square, I have a lot of answers. They can all be encapsulated into this; before I die, I simply want to live my life to the fullest. To fulfill this insanely broad answer, I have to graduate college, travel overseas, fulfill my tenure in the army, start a family, and answer my call to serve God’s kingdom in whatever capacity God would have me, the same way unlikely candidates like Moses and Paul did.
I want to do a plethora of things before I die, many I know I want now and will want later. I am sure many of my peers and whoever is reading this feels the same way. I want to look back on my life with a big smile and justify its celebration to myself when I do die.
I can only imagine this is what God intends for us all.