Saturday, March 26, 2011

Funeral Services for Beloved Member

Today funeral services were held at the Ward for a long time and beloved member.  The experience was one of feeling, and brought home for me the strong sense of community coming together in caring and regard for one of their own.  The Opening, Eulogy, and Talk were given by members of his family.  Each man struggled with struggling with his emotions, in not wanting to break down.  It was valiant to observe.  The man who passed was well known in the community, and the chapel was filled, the partition doors opened to expand room for the number of people that filled the space.  Stories shared of his life, his personality, his faith told of a man who wore his beliefs without apology, lived his life without apology.  There were humorous stories, and laughter which broke the solemness I'm more accustomed to in funeral memorials.  

The man who passed was someone we met the first time about 12 years ago when we first moved to this location.  He and another Elder had paid us a visit to encourage us (Arthur) to visit the LDS Ward.  We didn't see him again until recently when we began attending the Ward.  He was among the men who were helping with the investigator lessons we had two weeks ago Sunday....the very ones I had taken exception to in my pronouncement at the Relief Society Meeting lesson on the priesthood that I was not happy with the priesthood that morning.  He was the man who gave a testimony of the need to prepare for end days, with scarcity of resources...the talk that I felt might be somewhat frightening to the children. 

Arthur had the opportunity at their priesthood meeting to help him remember the visit to our home 12 years earlier.  I'm pleased that Arthur's last memory of the man was one of a reconciliation as there had been tension earlier in the investigator (newcomer) lesson as well as my frustration with the man's earlier testimony scare at the sacrament meeting.  I'm pleased that I got to attend this service to learn more about the man and his life among his family, church and community.  We talked with the Bishop afterwards, who told us that the man had been responsible for bringing something like 50 people into the church, his family and his family's family, and friends.   Stories of hunting, fishing, taking boat out in Ilwaco on an ebb tide, two boats sinking, and the man's love of his family were heart warming stories to hear.  It sounds like he was comfortable with his life, his 40 year marriage and the only woman he loved, who he was and what he believed.   Somehow it made for a good closure for me to learn how fully he enjoyed his life.  The dust up from two weeks earlier was not even a blip on his screen from the sounds of how well he lived life. 

What can I learn from this experience?   Much. 

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