Today is a hard day and by writing this I will make it even more difficult.
Today there will be a funeral for a friend who died too young… a funeral I will not attend ,even though I adored the deceased.
I do not remember why, but a very long time ago there was an issue between us and she died before whatever happened was reconciled.
I always thought there was time and at the right time all would be made well again.
Too many years have passed, too many lives were lived in the interim and I have no place at this graveside, so I will grieve privately…for my friend and for my sin and foolishness that makes the grief even more bitter.
There are many spiritual applications to be made from this situation and normally I would open up a vein and speak with you about them, believing that in doing so I would be speaking to people who have shared in this sort of grief…and maybe even save someone from it happening to them.
I have always trusted my readers with my pain, even when I didn’t trust myself.
I don’t trust them anymore.
In days gone by there was a time when I thought my gift to this community was to connect us in our shared humanity, in our common sins and fears while hoping to end up in faith.
Those things (which are all that really matter to me) have been superseded by who we vote for , whether we have had a shot, whether we wear a mask, and most of all, by who we despise.
We determine the value of another by whether they belong to our tribe…tribes that are concerned with transitory matters that demand that eternal things be diminished in their favor.
I am obsessed with the eternal things and the Lord who is over them…I cannot exchange them for a membership or temporal approval.
I would love to share with you as a brother and a believer where I have failed and what I still hope for…I would love to disciple you with my brokenness so that you might avoid being broken in the same way…but I no longer trust that it would matter if I did.
So, instead of writing I will spend the time praying for the repose and eternal peace of my friend in hope of a heavenly reunion.
I will pray that her and God forgive me and that I find a way to forgive myself for ignoring the need for reconciliation.
I might spend some time praying for the dead still breathing who have forgotten what it means to be truly human in the image of God and could end up missing a lot of funerals they should have attended…before the small gathering at their own.
Make your own application…
I appreciate you.
Likewise, my friend…
Sobering. Thanks Michael.
Thank you, pstrmike…
Your friend probably held you in their heart even without reconciliation because that’s what we flawed humans do. Be kind to yourself and treasure your friend and the blessed memories that you know would have made you both smile. 🙏🏼
Thank you G-man…all will be well, someday…
Hang in there! First, I am very sorry for your loss. It is hard to bear and not to be able to grieve with the family.
Second, you are a blessing to many, perhaps most of all because of your humanity. I know it is an exceedingly rare post in which your words are not either enlightening or comforting. You give me great hope!! Thank you.
Thank you for the encouragement…it means much.
In the past three months I lost both my last surviving parent as well as a dearly-loved colleague, and these events give me even more of a laser-sharp focus on the big things that matter most…and seeing so many people around me who are ignorant of, or wilfully ignoring, these big things in favor of chasing all of the little divisive things in the world adds to my silent grief.
There are still those of us who appreciate your willingness to “connect us in our shared humanity, in our common sins and fears while hoping to end up in the faith”. Thank you for offering this gift. May God give you consolation and comfort this week.
My condolences to you for your losses and the painful wisdom gained.
Thank you for always being an encouragement and may His Spirit bring you comfort and strength.
You’ve been a gift here…
Just a question: I understand your thinking and have been where you are at. But I don’t know that I totally understand why you wouldn’t attend the funeral. Would it not be cathartic for you to attend? Could it not be viewed as a sort of reconciliation between the two of you? Will you, in the future, regret not attending? Would she and God not want you to be free of the guilt you?
My heart in this post is for you to be free in the mercy and grace of Christ. I am not criticizing you!
It sounds to me (and I am probably misreading you) that you are punishing yourself.
I lost a friend to cancer three years ago. A few years prior we had a falling out, and despite my efforts to apologize, she would not talk to me. Then the cancer was diagnosed. The lines of communication opened slowly, and although we never got back to where we were, it was better than before. There are still so many things I wish could have been resolved, and sometimes I still wake up at night thinking about it. I’ll pray for you as you work through the pain. I did attend the funeral, but there were so many other people there I was just another face. 2 Cor 1:3-5 I do believe God will reveal and resolve all in heaven, but the pain here still lingers.
This funeral will be attended by people who would not have a clue who I am or why I am there. It is possible that some may know who I am and believe it an offense that I’m there.
This is their time and place…not mine.
Conviction is not always a bad thing…if it enables one to avoid such in the future.
I suspect…hope…that this matter has been resolved in heaven…and it’s another reason to look forward to home.
It is a thin veil… thinner than we might ever imagine…
I believe that…and all it implies…
Lord Jesus, whose loving heart was ever touched by the sorrows of others, have mercy upon the souls of the faithful departed, and grant them a place of refreshment, light, and peace whence pain and sorrow and sighing are driven away; and in thy goodness and mercy pardon every sin committed by them in thought, word, and deed; thou who art the resurrection and the life, and who livest and reignest, world without end. Amen.
St. Augustine’s Prayer Book
Amen…those words were my guide this morning.
I long for the place, the existence, where Love truly does cover all.
I believe that there is such a place, such an existence, but we know so little of it, and perhaps doubt its reality.
Whenever I reflect on the words of Jesus/Bible “the kingdom of God”, “the kingdom of Heaven”, “You are not far from the kingdom of God”, I long to have that fulfilled more in me now.
I fall so short.
But I believe in the power of Love and the source of that power, and trust that All Will Be Well.
Much love to you, Michael. Know that you have helped, and are a help to, me.
Please know that there is love and trust coming from me to you.
I believe in that place and in that kingdom as well…and it’s been an honor to be part of your journey toward it.
Much love to you as well…
Michael, my tears and prayers are for and with you. Seems there are still some readers here you can trust with your pain, and I hope you find me one of them. I’ve loved you and your writing for nigh on 20 years now, and you have been an integral part of my discipleship, including dispensing with my former tribalism. Carry on, my beloved brother.
Thank you, my friend.
I have been pleasantly surprised by the response today…and it’s been an honor to sail with you over the years.
Life and human politics are often times cruel Michael, but I surmise that you did the right thing.
Sorry for your pain Michael 🥺
May the LORD bless and keep you. Each of us has a similar story. Either we don’t know the way back to our friends or the way is closed. “The sting of death is sin.” Our sin alienates us. “But thanks be to God…”
Thanks, Muff, thanks, Elena…good to hear from you.
Some things are not fixable in this life…”we do not see everything in subjection”…but I wish I would have tried.
I’m not at all sure what I could have done, though…
Bless you, Michael, for the thoughts. “We ALL stumble in MANY ways”. And, we often have conflicts that go unresolved in spite of our good intentions to “someday” reconcile. How many times have we heard or read about someone who failed to reconcile with a family member before they passed on? But I think that you paid your respects here in a far more personal and loving way that you maybe could have at the funeral service. I can’t speak for everyone here, but I can say that I have been touched and inspired by your words.
Thank you my friend.
You know…part of the problem is that I forget how old I am…and that the future in which I can do things is not as long as it once was…whatever I want to accomplish, needs to be done now…
Praying for God’s comfort over you Michael.
May you receive comfort & peace in your grief just as you have comforted so many of us in our times of sorrow.
Michael, thank you for your years of faithfully speaking into my life and so many others through this website and your books. I know some of your past readers have been alienated too, but please keep writing as clearly as you can and as long as you can for those who remain and those who have newly arrived. You make a difference, my long-distance friend.
Many thanks to my long time friends pslady, Anne, and our publisher, EricL.
Thank you all for being here…
I am sorry for your loss and for the years spent apart from her. Your presence here has made a difference in my life as it has with many others, those that have commented above and others out there.
Thanks, Dan…as always.
So sorry for your loss Michael. You expressed what we’ve all experienced in life. Best tributes are when we move forward and do better, inspired by our previous shortcomings. You have been there for so many but you can’t win them all.
AMEN ! ! !
Dave Rolph in the house!
Thanks for the kind words, Dave…
Lately I’ve been more focused on the life to come. This life is tragic. The life to come is triumphant.
As we carry on prayers are going up for you.