today’s reading soundtrack: Ivan & Alyosha – Easy to Love
Someday I’m gonna die. I’m gonna leave this earth for good and head off to somewhere better and sweeter. And yes, Adam Sobel, my dog will be meeting me there too. This may sound a little strange, but sometimes I think a little bit about death. I guess stranger though, is that I think about my funeral. I’m not much of a funeral-type. I suppose no one really is, but if hospitals are difficult for me, imagine funerals. I can’t even fathom working at a funeral home. I’ve heard people talk about being there for people when they need it most. I can get behind that, just don’t expect me to sign up for it anytime soon. Then again, I am working toward pastorhood someday, so I may as well get used to it. I digress…
There was this scene in Tom Sawyer or Huck Finn or maybe Disney’s “Tom & Huck” where one of the boys fakes their death and then sits in a perch up above the ceiling and witnesses their funeral through a crack in the wall. They’re eating up all the sweet things people are saying about them. That scene always stuck with me. I don’t daydream about my funeral for the same reason that those riffraffs did though. I just picture myself in the same situation. I’m in some spot up above (heaven?) and I can look down and see everything. More importantly though, I can see everyone. And that’s why I enjoy this daydream. You see, I see something in this room that makes me happier than just about anything. Maybe not happy…but a deep, deep contentment. I see everyone who’s ever played a role in my life, all in one room together.
I see my family circled around, laughing at that time I missed the bus and sat at the bus stop for 3 hours thinking it was just running a little late that day. I see my best friends since childhood, Andy and Brett, exchanging southern accents with my best friends from Eastern Kentucky, Michael and Josh. I see my freshman year roommate, Matt, freestyling for my my junior-year boys, Adam, Daniel and Zach. I see all my high school boys dishing out our old crazy encounters with the current group of crazy high school boys I minister to. I see my current mentor and wise counsel, Taido, lost in deep theological conversation with my previous mentors, Stephen and PJ. Actually, they’re all probably laughing about some SNL skit involving a few dudes on a boat, but don’t tell anyone that. I see my wife with all of her best girl friends, together at last, planning a Sex and the City nite at her place. In the middle of all of this, I see my legacy. These people. These friends.
If there’s one thing I’m “proud” about, it’s these people and the relationships we share. More than anything else in this world, I value relationships. My relationship with my Maker. My relationship with my love. My relationship with my family. My relationship with my friends. These are the people that make me me.
I just got back a few days ago from a Colorado ski trip in the Rockies with our high school ministry. Somehow I convinced my dear friend Zach to come down from Chicago and join me on the trip. (He’s actually unemployed…so it really wasn’t that hard!) Zach jumped in immediately and began forming friendships one-by-one with these students. By the end of the week, they were asking for him to move to Arkansas. We had our first meeting with the students since the trip last night and I cannot express to you the joy these students had in seeing Zach one more time. Zach was actually supposed to leave town last night. But with the students begging for him to stay a few more days (and me doing a little pleading myself!), Zach decided to stay a little while longer. Sure he’ll get something great out of a little more time in the Natural State. But the real winner is me and those that they get to experience a little more of him. That’s just it. That’s everything.
Here’s the thing: Zach and the rest of the people that God has put around me are my legacy. They’re all I got. Even more, they’re all I could want. I get no more joy than watching my friends enjoy each other. Nothing satisfies me more than watching my family happy together, you know…really happy. I love that God made me that way. I love that God has blessed me with such good people. I can only pray that you have half of what I’ve had. It’ll be more than enough. It’ll be everything.