This morning I attended the funeral of a friend. My buddy Dave was a leader amongst his friends, his family, and his colleagues. As any good leader would do, he gave specific instructions for his funeral to be a celebration of his life. He did not want his service to be somber. He would have been proud of the way his instructions were carried out.
As is the case with most funerals, there were some tears for my friend Dave. But as a reminder to those in attendance that today was about celebration, there were three easels standing at the entry to the sanctuary. Each held a collage of pictures from his life. Whether the pictures were from his childhood or from his days as a proud parent and grandparent, everyone in these pictures was smiling. No tears in the pictures. Just images capturing the true joy of the moment. Just happiness.
As I sat in the pew today, I thought about the cycle of life. We’re born, and a doctor slaps us on the backside to make us cry, bringing tears to our eyes. When we die, if we’ve made a difference in the lives of those around us, our life will end with tears in the eyes of others. As I thought about the collage of pictures at the entry to the sanctuary, I was reminded of our need to cram as many happy and meaningful times as we can between the tears.
May you have success generating those moments that bring a smile to your face, and may the tears you shed along your journey be tears of joy!
Rest in peace, Dave Schumaker.