Friday, July 27, 2007

Raw Emotions

Why do we talk about people after they die? Why don't we talk about them when they are still around, so they know how much they are cherished? Or... why don't we talk about them when they are still around so that they know they need to change... to give their lives to Christ and abide in His forgiveness?

On the one hand my husband is in Ellensburg to go to a memorial service for a man who was beaten to death. He was involved in awful things that lead to the beating but no one deserves to be murdered, no matter what they are involved in. But what if we had had a "memorial service" for him 3, 5 or 8 years ago... when he was there to witness it? Would he have changed? If you think to yourself that he was probably too far gone, why do you think that? What if he saw his mother crying? How about his son? Or his daughter? Would it change you? - And what's the big idea about doing it after a person has passed? They can't change themselves at that point. I just don't think that's very nice.

On the other hand my grandma is not well. She is in a nursing home near the U.S./Canadian border... "one of the best in the country". They take good care of her, and yet her body is failing. She's lived a long life, full of joy and hardship and victory. She is a faithful woman of God who shaped her family, her children and her grandchildren to be believers and followers of Jesus. And when she passes away we will be sad that she's gone but we'll all rest in the hope of the resurrection; that she will be in the arms of Jesus and that she is at peace. And then we'll talk about how much we all love her and tons of us will tell stories of when we were younger and the experiences we had with her. We'll cry. We'll laugh. We'll all be together ... but not until after she dies.

I have never been satisfied with this notion. It really doesn't make any sense to me at all. So I have been intentional about telling loved ones how I feel about them... maybe to the point where they think, "All right, I get it already, you love me. Thank you. Point taken." But I did tell Gramma that I loved her... a lot. And several times I've told her that I am so proud to be one of hers (and Grandpas), that I am grateful for their faithfulness to each other, for being foundational members of our family, for being truthful with me, and for being so dedicated to our family. I just hope I'm not the only one. - Does she know that she is so cherished? Does she know that she shaped my mother who shaped me? Does she know that her marriage was an example? Does she feel appreciated?

I don't know what to do with how I feel right now. This is consuming my mind and while it is not a trivial thing to think on, I have pressing issues that need attention in the very near future. I could really use some wise council.


Jessica Bolt said...

Mama Leah. Thanks for your thoughts all of the time. I love reading them. And listening to you talk. And thanks so much for being around the last couple of weeks. You are the best mom at school anyone could ever have.

Leah said...

Thanks Jessi. The "constant example" nature of my job tends to make it difficult to turn off the professional filter that some think should be in place all the time. But this is me... as I am. And some times I think stuff stinks. And I appreciate the fact that you know when I can and cannot filter... me.

Aimee Jo said...

No advice from me, but thanks for these words.
It is a good reminder that we should "live for today" and tell people how we feel about them while we have the day we are given.
I'm so sorry about Logan's friend...that is awful.

kristi w said...

Your post reminds me of a celebration we had for my Grandad Cash. Instead of the regular birthday bash on his 90th, his church and family had a wonderful party that was basically a memorial service. People told the story of his life, shared their fondest memories, and openly shared their love and admiration for him. It was really powerful and even better than his funeral a few years later.

I'm not sure how exactly this fits, but I also keep thinking about rites of passage in association with your thoughts. I love celebrating life events - baptisms, births (like our baby blessings), adolescence, etc. in creative ways. I think that we could honor others in personal and profound ways by celebrating important life passages more often and more creatively.

Let us know how your thoughts continue to form on this.