How Great Thou Part

We make our way into the church.

What is a church to those of us who believe?

It is a time for beginnings at baptism. A time for coming of age at confirmation. A time for joining of lives in matrimony. A time for saying our goodbyes when life calls us home.

I listen to the music. It is absolutely beautiful. I am here to help my friend say goodbye to one of the grandest loves in her life.

I know my friend well. I know that her life started with the very best of love. A beginning that made her confident and fearless and assured. I know that today she will say goodbye to one-half of her foundation that made her world make sense. That made her.

She will tearfully let go of the grandest love in life.

One of her parents.

Nothing will compare. It is not possible. Nothing will ever aspire to the level of unconditional love that is so unmeasurable and absolute. It is the love that builds us and sends us out into the world strong enough to leave our original home and build our next home.

I listen to the priest.

“God gave us memory so that we might have roses in December.” It is a quote by James M. Barrie. A breathtaking nod to how we survive grief.

My friend’s brother makes his way up to recall the love of his father.

His words are beautiful. He speaks of his father being his hero. How when he was young, he filled out a job application that asked his greatest goal in life – that he responded being the type of parent that he was raised with.

He tells of childhood memories and the blessing of being loved by such a man.

And then as he gets ready to close his love – he says something that stops me.

“Mostly, I will just remember how much we loved being together.”
Now this was not your average man. He not only devoted himself to his family but fully to his country. He lived a much larger sense of the world. He made sacrifices and was as strong as he was loving. He lived as immeasurably outside of his four walls as he did within them.

“Remarkable,” I think.

He lived life well. So much better than most of us. He had his values and his priorities straight. He put God and his family and his country at the forefront of his life every single day. He never lost sight of what was important. He had a peace about him that made his faith and his family and his country ground him rather than confuse him.

He was not ruffled by life. The things that give most of us pause. He was confident and certain. Not to worry. I think they call this faith.

I watch my friend and her family gather together in this church.

What a gift they will remember this day.

Because this grand love in her life left behind a family who when saying goodbye –

Recalled no better love than when being together.

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