The husband of a writer friend of mine passed away after a 15 month battle with cancer. I had never met this man, but I had read about him in the book she is writing, Molten Moments. (And if there is ever a book that MUST be published, it is this book. Watch for it.) I knew they had been a missionaries in New Guinea for a long time. I knew he was a good man. I went to his memorial service to pay my respects and to support my friend.
Being Catholic, I assumed that this Christian memorial service would span the usual 50 minutes to 1 hour like a funeral. Five hundred unwavering people listened to tributes, sang songs, and prayed for 1 hour and 45 minutes. The service was too short.
Of the tributes, some were funny, others serious. Both brought tears to my eyes. Especially the story of how this man who stood only 5 foot 5 inches was compared to a whirlwind when they entered the missionary training center. The story goes that for weeks after their departure the trainer was saying, "Who was that man?" Thankfully he met up with him again years later in New Guinea and then had the real opportunity to know and experience his love and friendship.
Legacy was the title of the song his son wrote and sang for him. There wasn't a dry eye in the place. His son-in-law shared with us the moments of their first meeting. There were gales of laughter followed by a deep sense of lose.
The photographic slideshow highlighting this dear man's life was so inspiring I could watch every day for the rest of mine. In those images I saw a person filled with compassion, unconditional love, humor, and grace. I found myself feeling empty and sad that I didn't get a chance to meet him. I found myself wanting to run up to my friend to urge her to finish her book so that more could know him.
His pastor challenged us to pitch in and spread God's word, as this man had done for most of his life. He told us the story of how when he had accompanied this dear man to one of his radiation treatments, he said, "You're a Pastor, why don't you tell these people about the love of Jesus?" The Pastor's response was, "You're killing me." This faithful man of God admitted to feeling safe upon the shore where my friend's husband enjoyed chasing the horizon.
I went to offer my love and support. I came away with a blessing.