I’ve not had the unfortunate luck (if it isn’t luck, what is it? Grace maybe?) to have to have buried too many friends and loved ones during my lifetime. That’s not to say I haven’t seen some go, but most of them haven’t been the “Oh Wow!” surprises that I’ve seen come in the lives of others. I consider myself very fortunate for that and count my blessing frequently.
The Oh Wows often seem to be the hardest: when the child is taken by a disease; a teen is taken in a car accident; or a young adult is taken by some freak bolt of lightning. I don’t mean to suggest that some deaths are anticipated…well, then maybe a do. It isn’t a surprise when your 95 year old uncle dies of old age.
It’s a fairly common thought, sometimes even spoken, that a parent should never have to bury their child. I saw it repeated recently on a movie…I don’t want to dwell there, because that makes my own spine shiver.
Having had the opportunity to know and befriend several of my pastors since my religious conversion, I don’t know why I haven’t asked them more probing questions about some of the things they do (because that’s a writer’s job, right? To ask probing questions of everybody we know so that we might get insight to what they do and use it for fodder in our writing?). But I imagine one of the most difficult jobs would be a pastor speaking at funerals and consoling the bereaved.
It doesn’t seem like it would that difficult if you knew the deceased; you simply tell what you know. Those stories always seem to be filled with the goodness or good deeds associated with them. Part of the pastor’s job seems to be to put the family members, those left behind, as ease; give them the peace and assurance that their loved one is in a much better place.
But what if they’re not?
I mean, what if Uncle Jorgé was a low-down, two-timing, double-dealing, swearing, cheating, lying, son…well, you get the idea. What if he was just a rotten person and nobody but nobody would think his final elevator was going anywhere but down?
I’ve never once in my life ever heard of a pastor standing up and telling those assembled at the funeral that they are better off because the deceased is now screaming for mercy in Hell. I’ve never once heard a pastor suggest that the deceased will be paying for his nastiness until that role is called up yonder and he won’t be there.
I’ve never once heard it…but I’d bet several of them have thought it!