Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Honoring Life

The past few weeks have been crazy. The proverbial roller coaster of ups and downs. Since my last post I've attended two different funerals. The first was for my pastor. The second was for my Great Aunt. Both of these depressing events were sandwiched between wonderful, fun experiences. The night before my pastor's funeral, I went to a rock concert with two friends and we had a great time and made some great memories. The days after were spent happily again, cooking, hanging out, celebrating the holiday and enjoying life. This saturday my Aunt passed away somewhat suddenly, also from cancer. Her services were yesterday and today and yesterday and today I went to the Scooper Bowl on Boston City Hall Plaza.

I spent a lot of time thinking about whether or not it was appropriate to do these things and came to one conclusion, they would have wanted me to. At the very least, I doubt either of them would have minded and here's why. Both my pastor and my aunt were wonderful people. They were devoted and kind people and as much as they were different, they shared a lot of the same important traits. They were both so invested in their churches. They were both kind people, the sort of person that makes you feel a little better when you talk to them. But what they really shared was their sense of community and their importance in relationships. After my pastor's funeral, I felt like crawling into bed and not getting out until things made sense again. But I realized that in doing that I wasn't respecting my pastor. He was all about doing things together and building meaningful relationships, he would not have wanted me to skip the opportunities for that for any reason. My Aunt too emphasized relationships with her family and although I didn't know her as well as I would have liked, I know enough to know that, as a teacher herself, she would not have begrudged me chaperoning a group of kids to celebrate their moving up or getting together with a close friend I have been missing.

Both my pastor and aunt were, to me, good people. They put what really mattered first and that was always people. I have no doubt that world is a sadder place without their smiles and love to brighten it, but I know that as we move forward, that reflecting on the way that they lived their lives and trying to emulate that goodness and community building is a far better way to respect their memories than holing ourselves up and stewing over the unfairness of it all.

And another thing, the Scooper Bowl benefits the Jimmy Fund and I'm up for anything that tries to beat down cancer. I've had more than enough of it taking people I care about.