Friday, May 29, 2009

I found out today that a guy I used to work with

died in a car crash. The funeral was tonight.

The reason we were no longer working together was actually a fairly strong reason not to go, though it had nothing to do with how he and I had gotten along. I decided that, since I had liked and admired him I had to go.

The service was beautiful, though very modern. They called it a celebration of his life and they did it well. The church band played brilliantly executed Christian rock songs and the pastor preached a moving sermon based on Isaiah 61, of all things. He explained how, in the verse which says, "I will give you beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, a garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness" the words for "ashes" and "beauty" in Hebrew are nearly the same three letter word with the second and third letters transposed, so we could get a sense of how rhetorically powerful that must have been for the hearers of Isaiah's prophecy. Particularly since, when the Israelites mourned, they threw ashes on their heads and the word for "beauty" more literally means 'a beautiful turban' or other head covering, such as a crown.

All the eulogists spoke about how much he had grown since I last saw him... which made me very sad that I hadn't been there for that. They told stories showing how he'd gained great self-esteem from helping others in the church's ministries.

It was all deeply moving, and, as you may imagine, troubling to me.


LibertyBob said...

I always prefer when they do the celebration of life rather than the mourning of death. Somehow it seems more respectful to the departed.

Sorry about the loss of your friend.

Al said...

I have to say I buy that now. It did leave me mourning that I had missed that bus, but, anyway...

Thank you.

T. F. Stern said...

Sorry to hear about your friend passing on. I find the opportunity to investigate my own mortality with the passing of a friend, much as you have found.

Many years ago a fellow police officer was hit by a DWI suspect and died; not a close friend but we had worked together several times. Mortality is an interesting unknown quantity which we should consider as we spend it.

Al said...

I haven't been able to think of anything more original and sympathetic to say than, 'that's a tough one, man.'

Thank you.

Lotta distractions this week, too.

Tef said...

I've decided what I want people to say at mine. See link.

Anonymous said...

Sorry about the loss Al. He apparently died a Christian, If so then he is home and a celebration of life is an appropriate thing espeially if we managed to gain from our exposure to any one.