Sunday, August 23, 2009

I Will Be Here

I had a double header yesterday. 

Becca, Willson, Pat, Scott and I celebrated the funeral Mass of a member of St Henry's.  Later in the day Becca, Scott, and I made live music for a friend-of-a-friend's wedding.

I have been playing a variety of roles at weddings and funerals for a long time, and I never tire of either.

I rarely cry at funerals.  The beauty and timelessness of the Catholic funeral liturgy is so comforting and uplifting.  I love the timeless smell of incense, though it has made my eyes water so much I couldn't read the music.  When I listen to the friends and family members talk about the deceased, I often find myself wishing I had known the person better or at all.  I remember one eulogist who painted a beautiful picture of his mother arriving in heaven at the great banquet, greeting family members and friends.  During yesterday's funeral I found myself wanting to go hug the eulogist; he was so sad at the loss of his father.

I almost always cry at weddings.  This one was no exception.  The couple chose a beautiful reading from Ecclesiastes, Chapter 4.  It says two are better than one; if one falls, the other is there to pick him up.  When two sleep together, they keep each other warm.  How does one stay warm alone? 

The pastor talked about the reading.  He advised this young couple to be each other's support and refuge, to keep each other warm.  He also told them keeping God present in their lives would make all the difference.

He was so right; I wonder if they heard what he said.

Between the reading and the pastor's comments, we sang a song by Steven Curtis Chapman, "I Will Be Here."  My favorite line in the song is in the second verse:  "I will be here and you can cry on my shoulder, when the mirror tells us we're older, I will hold you and I will be here to watch you grow in beauty and tell you all the things you are to me.  I will be here....."

I thought of all the times Joe's made me feel warm and safe, of all the ways he's loved me more as we grow old together, and of all the ways he's been here.

Joe said to me, "I will be here."  He said it nearly nineteen years ago.

Know what? 

I believe him.

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