Tag Archives: mourning

I’m NOT Going to Puke! I’m n…

This is going to be an unusual entry, as if the title wasn’t enough of a clue. I’m going to talk about holding back from puking – puking my emotions, that is.

Let’s start with the whole disgusting vomiting thing.

You know what it’s like – that feeling of a sour stomach, a queasiness, a warning that your body is preparing to expel what it thinks is harmful to process, right?

Have you ever had that feeling but determined you were going to do everything in your superpowers to stop it from happening?

First, you try to convince yourself that it’s nothing, really. I mean, sure, you didn’t give thanks to Jesus for that sandwich from Chick-fil-A because, after all, it came pre-blessed. And that sushi from the kiosk in the food court didn’t taste too strange, at least no more than normal.

The next thing you do is think, “It’s only a little upset stomach,” then ask, “Where’s the Mylanta?” Yeah, that’s all you need.

The sweat begins to bead on your forehead. More excuses. More rationalizing. You find a place to lie down and moan a muffled declaration into your pillow: “I’m NOT going to throw up!”

Sometimes it works. Sometimes.

Well, this is the best way I can describe the feelings I have after the death of my mother, Rebecca Marie Baker, this past Tuesday morning.

Rebecca Marie Baker 12/28/44 – 3/16/21

It’s like I feel a familiar sensation, a pressure, a something… it’s like I know if I was so many other people I would have already broken down and wept. But when the urge comes my immediate response – and it’s actually a physical, tangible response – is to tap it back down. And I am not even sure if it’s on purpose. Actually, I know it’s not.

If the body eats something that is bad for it, the natural response is to expel it. To keep it inside and to digest it could be harmful.

But what of the heart? What of the emotions? What of pain and grief?

I mentioned this to my wife and she suggested I “let it out.” But the last time I cried uncontrollably was when I stood at the door of the bedroom of one of our daughters after she moved off to college.

I don’t like to cry like that. I don’t like being that weak. I especially don’t like people seeing me that way.

However, Jesus wept. Yes, He did.

But not every time.

At least that we know.

I know these last few weeks were difficult, and I know we talked a lot about you going to heaven, but now that you are gone, I’m going to miss you. I am glad I was able to tell you I loved you and to hear your weak voice whisper back, “I love you, too.”

I’m thankful I was able to sit by your bed, hold your hand, and sing Amazing Grace to you as you left this world of pain. I wish I could have seen the look on your face when you breathed your first taste of heavenly air.

I can only imagine what it was like for you and Daddy to see each other again.

This is why it’s hard to cry. This is why it’s difficult to grieve. You are where you were born again to go.

Your faith has become sight!

Be happy with those who are happy, and weep with those who weep.

Romans 12:15 NLT

I’m happy for you, Momma! I’m sure there are tears of joy where you are, too.

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Filed under Life/Death, Relationships and Family

Another Funeral for a Stranger

If there is anything that is difficult in ministry, it’s conducting a funeral service. If there is any kind of funeral service that is more difficult than another for a minister, I’d have to say it would be either a close family member or a child.

However, even though doing the funeral for a friend or loved one may be painful, doing one for a total stranger has its own share of difficulties. That is what I am going to be doing today…again.

  • What would you say to encourage a grieving family as they look at you standing over the casket of their loved one?
  • How do you share in the grief and pain, the loss and sorrow, with a host of people you’ve never even met?

In just a couple of hours I will be standing in a funeral home, beside or above a dead body, looking at a room full of people with tears in their eyes, as they hear me speak about someone intimately familiar, but of whom I know little about.  What would you say?

How would you handle it?

This is how… With love, compassion, and tenderness, as one who has also gone through pain and loss, give them Jesus, because…”If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable. But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept.” – 1 Corinthians 15:19-20

It doesn’t matter who they are, even strangers need hope. Give them Jesus.

Update:

If you would like to hear the sermon that I preached (with private details removed), just click on the link below. You may find it interesting, instructional, and inspirational. 

If you are a minister, please note several things. First, I did not use a rigid outline. Secondly, I incorporated things going on in the “here and now.” Third, since I was not able to relate to the family through familiarity with the deceased, I related to the family by tapping into the shared experience of personal sorrow and loss (empathy). Fourth, I primarily focused on the Truth of the Word of God, our only source of eternal hope and comfort.

Easter sunrise 2015

Funeral Sermon for a Man I Didn’t Know

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Filed under Faith, Life/Death, Preaching