My little memorial, sort of.

This afternoon, I helped prepare and clean up a funeral meal at church.  It wasn’t a big job.  The deceased was a little-known, middle-aged deaf man who had never married.  He went to Glory with little pomp or fanfare; only eighty-odd souls attended his memorial service.  That might sound like a passable number for a funeral, but we are a Mennonite community.  We typically have five to ten siblings; so eighty mourners need not even extend to second cousins.  What’s more, our funerals are community events.  You don’t need to know the deceased to attend; you just show up in black, help pour a pot of coffee or two and no one bats an eye.

Only half of the mourners came back to church for the meal after the burial.  Maybe because they knew what we were serving: coffee, cold buns and margarine.  That was it.  His surviving family was too poor to afford more.  The quiet group who stayed to the dismal end only filled half of the tables ready for the event.  They drank their coffee and ate their bread and I felt compassion for them and for the poor man who slipped out of this world with so little recognition.

I am an introvert.  I only need a few trusted friends in my life, and that’s pretty much what I’ve got.  I don’t expect there’ll be a huge turn out for my funeral.  Let me correct that: if Albert survives me, I expect there’ll be a huge funeral made up of a few people to mourn my passing and a lot to show their support for Albert.  But whether a few people or many, I hope they have a feast.  What better place than a funeral for comfort food?  I hope they have cake in several flavours, butter, strawberry jam, and little link sausages on toothpicks.  If Albert is there, I hope he gets his favourite dessert, vanilla cream pie with pastry crust, not graham crumb crust.  He likes my vanilla cream pie best, so to anyone concerned, my recipe for the pudding is on page 373 of the Pillsbury Cookbook, top drawer beside the fridge.

I know very little about the man they buried today.  I saw him once or twice.  I don’t pretend to know what his thoughts were, but I know that he became a follower of Christ two years ago, so here’s my tribute to a man whose departure from this world was marked by eighty souls and a humble repast of coffee, cold buns and margarine.  It’s a well-known poem called “The prayer of an unkown soldier”.

I asked God that I might achieve.  I was made weak, that I might learn humility to obey.

I asked for health, that I might do great things.  I was given infirmity, that I might do better things.

I asked for riches, that I might be happy.  I was given poverty, that I might be wise.

I asked for power, that I might have the praise of men.  I was given weakness, that I might feel the need of God.

I asked for all things that I might enjoy life.  I was given life, that I might enjoy all things.

I got nothing I asked for – but everything I hoped for.  Almost despite myself, my unspoken prayers were answered.

I am among all men, most richly blessed.  


2 responses to this post.

  1. How very kind of you to honour this man today. Thank God for your kind heart.


  2. Thank you Holly.


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