LiViNG: A Joyful Departure!

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I have just returned home from a memorial service of a church sister-in-Christ, who passed away yesterday. She suffered from a stroke two days ago. After I was told about her stroke, I was in a daze actually. She was very healthy, cheerful and active in church. I have never heard of her being sick at all. When the news came yesterday evening of her passing at noon, I could not believe it. As I have just attended a relative’s funeral, it was a bit hard to grasp all these sudden losses.

In the opening speech, the young pastor said in her routine manner. “We are very happy and thankful to gather here tonight for this memorial service…” I heard mumbling at the back seats, whispering. I couldn’t hear what they said but the tone sent out messages of displeasure. To them it was a sad occasion to gather. Isn’t it a rude thing to call it a happy function?

Then came the time when children and relatives came up to share about their mother and no men said anything. Again mumbling were heard from behind, saying, “What is there to share at this time, don’t waste time…” I dared not looked back to see who they were but I was wondering what the children would say. Not many families ever share gratitude for each other on other happy occasions. It usually surprises people to hear about sharing during a sad occasion.

“My mom was the best mom always caring about us. She took the biggest portions of the house chores and never complained of what she had done for us! She always spoke kindly and softly, treating us like kids. Seeing that she did not suffer severe pain or sickness, I am very grateful to God for his mercy. We will remember her as the best loving mom. We respect God’s will to call her home to eternal rest and happiness. My mom loved and feared the Lord and she was diligent in reading the Bible and attending church, setting a good example for us all…”

As for Christian children and friends, she had gone to the Lord peacefully. They felt at peace and rejoiced that God had been gracious to them. Their mother didn’t suffer long. It was a joyful departure indeed.

For those who were not prepared to realize death as a reality felt that Christian faith has no compassion. It was hurtful to call it a happy occasion and the guests felt that it was rude to the family.

Among those who felt the sadness was her husband. He was calm though saying that the hospital had no facilities to save his wife. It was too sudden. He couldn’t save her in a small town like this.

Life is fragile. Treasure each day! Trust the Lord and have faith in His promise of a joyful departure to eternal home. Life is transient indeed! Look beyond to find joy in such a sad occasion!
By Chris of Tawau, Sabah

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