We have one of those days today. Two funerals, one for the best male friend I have had to date and the other for a church member for which we’ll sing the Hallelujah Chorus as was her request for this day. Funerals are somber days if we let them be that, and sometimes there is nothing we can do to avoid somber. Might be the way in which death was met, or the circumstances involved or just the loss of a very important person to us whom we’ll dearly miss.
I try my best to see funerals, for all but close family members, as a celebration of the life of the person who is being celebrated, and even then I try to celebrate. The first celebrant is that guy whom I got to know probably as well as one guy can know another, and whom I was fortunate to meet and get to know later in our lives. I know that the term celebrant might hit some as a strange word to described the ‘deceased’, but that is how I think about this passing from the earthly life to the heavenly life. This ought to be the single greatest celebration we can conceive for anyone.
That is difficult when the death occurred as the result of some miscreant with a gun or a drunk with an automobile or simply a guy with a gun looking for a score. Those were humans and they are to be accorded some kind of remembrance, but to think of their funerals as celebrations is a stretch not many of us can span. It may be that we settle for the fact that a person who had caused others much suffering and misery in that lifetime qualifies to be celebrated for his or her removal from our present-day lives whether or not we knew them.
We are complicated creations that are not easily understood even by the closest family member or the closest friend. I met my best male friend later in both our lives so we were already past that “mine is bigger than yours” contest thing that seems to be necessary between males, at least. I’ll not assume to know enough about females to venture an opinion of this nature. (That, by the way, demonstrates that I have learned something in the course of all these years here on earth, although I learned it way too late to help completely.)
In the case of my best male friend, I think we’d both been bent but not broken by the time our paths crossed, so we did not have that natural “male” thing like pawing the earth and preparing to change each other with our heads down. That sounds foolish, and it is, but it is also a reality for way too many of the male species for way too long.
I spent many hours with him and some of the time he was napping, but that didn’t matter. At least I was there should he wake and open his eyes, which he did, and which usually led to some verbal banter that we both thoroughly enjoyed no matter who came out ahead in that particular instance. And, we were both comfortable in the knowledge that, roles reversed, it would’ve come down the same way.
Then, we will sing what may be one of the most celebrated songs of its kind ever composed, part of the fantastic Messiah creation which in and of itself is difficult to comprehend given the magnitude of the piece and the minimal time spent in its creation. The lady must’ve wanted to go out of this life with a loud musical ovation for we will be really belting it out before the finish of the piece. The Hallelujah Chorus is special to both presenters as well as to recipients of the presentation. It is moving for everybody exposed to it no matter whether presenting or receiving. If this song does not initiate the opening of Heaven’s gates then nothing earthly can accomplish that (as we know but we insist on trying).
A full day indeed, and one that matters significantly to many even though the world goes on about its business outside the walls of the buildings where we gather. People drive past, see vehicles and lament for whomever the celebration is about, but life goes on; many hurt from the loss, but we usually recover and take that next step and the next after that and so on.