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No One Cried Posted 11.13.2015

I enjoy checking my Twitter account these days.  Sometimes it’s informative, sometimes humorous, and sometimes challenging.  Friday morning it was challenging.  And, it bailed me out of the writer’s block that had overwhelmed me! Maybe it hit me because this week I could have attended two family funerals (though I only went to one).  Those moments do bring a pause to life.  The link on Twitter was to an article written by a Kenyan last January titled “No One Cried In My Friend’s Funeral.”

 

It was the story of a man attending the funeral of a friend late last year.  The author had come to Christ through his friendship with this older neighbor and friend as he was growing up.  30 years passed, and that older friend died. I will pick up the story there – mostly in the words of the surviving friend.

My friend was a super achiever. He pursued a bachelor’s degree at age 45 and was about to finish a doctorate at 63. He has helped to lift his family economically and blessed those around him.

 

However, something was amiss. A line in the eulogy confirmed my fears.  “Throughout his life he maintained a very busy schedule.” He went abroad for his studies, leaving a young family for over ten years. They got used to living without him. When he returned he was a part-time lecturer at 6 universities spread throughout the country.  He traveled a lot. He died alone in a car accident at 1:00 am coming from one of his many engagements!

 

My friend was a loner. It’s clear he didn’t spend quality time with those closest to him.  Yes, he served the “church” selflessly and hundreds attended the burial.  He had many acquaintances but none were intimate.  No one cried in the funeral; his wife and children didn’t shed a tear.

 

I was deeply rebuked. My heart broke at the thought that I could be neglecting my own friends and family at the excuse of ministry demands.  I spent the weekend away and on Monday morning, my son started crying saying he was missing Dad. Some friends have complained it’s hard to get me on phone.

 

Yesterday, for the first time in more than 5 years, I spent the whole day with my mum alone as we drove to the funeral service. She was so happy and animatedly kept me engaged. I didn’t realize how much she missed me. She even reminded me of the holiday offer I promised them with my Dad; 2 days away from the livestock and household chores.  I have even lost the ritual of taking my wife out for dinner each fortnight.  God help me re-organize and prioritize my life around what is eternal and matters most.

 

While we abhor idleness, busyness is not an option. While we esteem sacrifice, hard work, and putting bread on the table, neglecting family is not an option. My employer will replace me when am gone, but my children will never have another dad.

 

It’s a sad thing if no one cries at my funeral.  

 

 


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