Two funerals in one week

Jon often writes about grieving and loss. Being a hospital chaplain brings him into close proximity to those who are in the final chapter of their lives.

A few weeks ago was my opportunity to brush closely against death.

winter sunset

The first loss was expected, though the timing was unknown beforehand. Our friend’s father endured a long battle with a debilitating illness.

The second was completely unexpected. Our friend had a sudden heart attack at a young age.

Both of their celebrations of life were wonderfully uplifting. Both pointed all participants to reflect on what counts.

I was blessed to attend both celebrations.

Afterward, I decided to take stock and make a few changes in my life, since God was very clearly letting me know “how fleeting my life is” (Psalm 39:4).

First, I made a doctor’s appointment to see if there is anything in my body that needs attention. My attitude toward my own health changed from just caring for myself to caring for those who love me.

Second, I decided to be more intentional in showing love to those around me, not to check a box but to take action. For me, that means stopping and sending a text or making a call, since life normally squeezes out personal connections.

Third, intentionally showing love to those I work and live is also reflected by simply striving to be nice.

Fourth, I have prayed a lot for the families that experienced loss.

Finally, Jon has a great resource with more ideas of what you can do to make a difference in the lives of people you know who are grieving the loss of someone they love: Thirty-one things to say and do to help someone when their loved one has died (other than sending flowers.)

Paul Merrill writes here every First Friday.