This week started with a thanksgiving service for the husband and father of friends of mine. He died quite suddenly aged 70 whilst out in the garden. I was struck by the poignancy of one of the things his wife said to me when we were chatting some days later – she only wished that he could have heard all the nice things that people were now saying about him, when he had been alive. I certainly shed a tear at the thoughtful and moving reflections written by one of the daughters at the service on Monday.
I have since been pondering on how after a death, family and friends speak with great sincerity and affection, extoling the virtues and happy times spent with their loved ones. Tributes given always focus on the positive and the good and choose the truths that edify that person and show them in a good light. And yet that same person will rarely have heard these carefully composed encouraging words and received such appreciation whilst they were living – not unless they have come into the public limelight for some reason and have found themselves on the right side of the media.
I wonder why we are so bad at recognising the value of relationships whilst we still have them? It seems so easy to pull a person down in conversation, to focus on their faults and failings. It happens all the time. It happens in the public forum, and privately – most frequently in relationships that would benefit greatly from the same shift of focus that happens when someone has suddenly gone from our lives.
After pondering on what the effect would be if I were to write my tributaries for important people in my life and let them read them before it is too late, I came across the following challenge from Jeff Lucas, the very next day:
“Who are the people who have impacted us? Paul (he is speaking of Paul the Jewish convert in the New Testament) let his friends know, loud and clear, that they were important to him: he was very willing to express his love freely, without hesitation. We should go out of our way – before offering a tribute at a funeral – to do the same”
And so, my idea for a series of blog entries was cemented in my mind. After all, eulogies are given in public. I have no idea how difficult this is going to be -I suspect it could present a significant challenge – but I am up for giving it a go.
Watch this space ……..