Pictures are from yesterday, but they are of things present both days.
It was a good funeral. Comedian Tim Hawkins jokes about putting the 'fun' in 'funeral.' I'm not sure about fun, but today was an enjoyable day.
I got to share my heart as far as what I have learned about God's love through the loss of my son. The short version is that I learned just a little more of how great a love God has for me. He went through the loss of his Son, voluntarily, to demonstrate His love for me. I needed that, and His love drove him to make that sacrifice for me.
I got to worship with friends and family as we sung together "Higher Ground," "Saved, Saved!," and "I'll Fly Away." I got to sing a duet with my son, who was also playing the guitar as we sung "To God be the Glory," with everyone joining us on the last chorus. We continued our worship as my brother shared his heart about Timmy's verse - Psalm 9:1: "I will praise thee, O Lord, with my whole heart; I will show forth thy marvelous works." He then shared my heart, taken from this blog, of several of the marvelous things God had done in Timmy's life.
I got to say good bye to my son. My last kiss on his forehead felt completely wrong, but yesterday and today was the longest I have gone being near him without giving him a kiss. Knowing that his life has preached more truth than I have in my years as a pastor, I tucked my preaching Bible under his arm before setting the lid back on his casket.
I got to enjoy sweet fellowship with family at a luncheon provided by the church Jen and I went to and served at when we were first married. They served us well and we enjoyed our time with family immensely.
I guess the big wonder people have expressed to us is whether these events will turn us bitter toward God or deepen our faith. Several have commented, but it is not something that worries me. How I respond to life is a concern I always have, but not a worry. As my brother shared today from this blog, we made our determination how we would respond a long time ago. An image a friend shared with me today is the image of a sailing vessel. You can observe two ships, using the same wind to go in different directions. A poem by Ella Wheeler Wilcox explains it:
But to every mind there openeth,
A way, and way, and away,
A high soul climbs the highway,
And the low soul gropes the low,
And in between on the misty flats,
The rest drift to and fro.
But to every man there openeth,
A high way and a low,
And every mind decideth,
The way his soul shall go.
One ship sails East,
And another West,
By the self-same winds that blow,
'Tis the set of the sails
And not the gales,
That tells the way we go.
Like the winds of the sea
Are the waves of time,
As we journey along through life,
'Tis the set of the soul,
That determines the goal,
And not the calm or the strife.
The winds will blow in life. I hope the winds blowing in our life never blow in your life, but I can assure you that winds will blow in your life. Which way will the winds blow you? Is it really a mystery we can't know ahead of time? The answer is that we can predict where the winds will take us. The direction of the wind, the strength of the wind, and the suddenness of the wind have no bearing on our bearing. The only thing that makes a difference is how we set our sail.
So, I don't worry about it. But I conscientiously set my sail. And I invest in people and hang out with people who have set their sail in a similar way. I know that there are many in my life that are standing on the shore, holding ropes, to maintain the position of my sails. So what will happen when the next wind hits me? The wind will take me where I have pointed myself by the set of my sails.
If you feel like life has you along for the ride, as if you are not in control of where you are headed, as if you don't know where you are heading - stop drifting around, and grab a hold of your sail.
Where will the wind take you?
Better check your sails.