Thursday, April 10, 2008

No one does - Do they?

There was a funeral today. It was for the father of my son's friend. He died in a traffic accident, way before it was "time". I went to the viewing before the funeral today and I was talking to my son, who told me that he did not like funeral's.

I explained to him that no one really does. The funeral can be a tough time and it is often a time filled with real pain and sadness.
As a pastor, it is often a time when I get to reach out and comfort a family, many times a family I do not know.

It is a time when I can try and simply be there and help a family celebrate a life and love shared. It can be a time of tears and smiles. A time of sadness and joy. It really depends upon the person who has died and the family. It can be an opportunity to share the love of Christ with people in a way that can bring healing and peace.

Yet today as I went up to the family and greeted them, all those things left me. All I saw was this young man who had been to my house many times and I simply felt helpless. I took him in my arms and told him that anything he needed, please let me know. Yet that felt so empty, I felt as if I should have been able to do more for him. After all I knew him and cared for him and wanted to be able to heal and comfort, yet it felt like I could do none of those things today.

So I feel as if perhaps I did not live out my calling today. Today I was not the man or the pastor that God has called me to be. I know this day was not about me but I truly felt as if there was something more I could have done or should have done.

So in the end I did what I should always do and should always do more of...I prayed.


Stephen Taylor said...

Opening yourself and standing alongside another in the midst of their pain IS being the pastor God called you to be. Trust the power of presence, and thanks for sharing this.

shell said...

You underestimate the power of a hug. I think touching someone in pain allows us to sometimes take a little of their pain unto us. At my Mother's funeral that is what I focused on.

klh said...

You did what you could do in that moment, and I would guess that the young man felt the love in your heart. That is immeasurably powerful.

One thing you can do, and I would guess you will do anyway, is make sure that you or someone in the church continues to stand by the family beyond this initial grief period. Churches tend to be really good the first month or so, but then (I've both noticed and learned in seminary) everyone else just sort of moves on even though the pain is still acute for the family involved.