Sometimes all it takes to wake you up is a good funeral. Good funeral is not an oxymoron. Today I learned that even "joyful funeral" is not an oxymoron. Have you ever seen people wave flags and sing praise at a funeral? Neither had I, until today. I wonder what the people from the funeral home thought.
This incredible woman of God, Susan Bodnarchuk, battled cancer at four different times in her life. Obviously, for her, life was too short and uncertain to waste it on self-pity. She spent her life on God. She spent it on her friends and family. She spent every cent of it. She got a standing ovation at her funeral for it. The testimony and legacy she left, proclaimed at her funeral, strengthened the faith of every person packed into the sanctuary, and, I'm sure, inspired the birth of new faith in many who, for the first time, realized that God was the source of every good thing in her life.
One person said that Sue pictured being with God after she died, and hearing him ask her, "Sue, did you learn how to love?" That hit me. Beth, did you learn how to love? Of course, that's the most important question. Because that's the most important command - Love the Lord your God, love your neighbor. This is why I'm alive. I sat there feeling like a fool. I've wasted so much of my time on myself, wrapped up in how things make me feel, how they affect me, whether things are fair or unfair. Especially lately. It's not Sue's death that makes me want to live, it's her life. It's such a good reminder from me, straight from God, right in the busiest time of the semester when I could very easily become completely self-absorbed. Please, all of you, if you notice me doing this, let me know before I waste any more time.
Thank you, to all of you, for giving me the chance to learn how to love you, and to learn how to love God through loving you. Love means being vulnerable, love hurts - I will be thinking about this on Good Friday - but love is always worth the pain - I will be thinking about this on Easter Sunday. There is immeasurable joy ahead. Sue is experiencing it now. I hope my funeral will be like hers. I want to bring as much glory to God as she did. I want to finish well. Since I don't know where the finish line is in my life, I need to run hard all the time. Love hard all the time. There is so little time. There are so many people to love. There is one amazing God to love. I need to start right away, this very minute.
Read Eph. 5:1-2 again- I quoted it in my last blog entry. I almost typed it all out again for this one. It's still blowing me away.