Making the arrangements

My heart isn’t in blogging today.  I’m certainly not in the mood to complain about the culture, worry about politics, or pick theological arguments.  Death gives a different kind of perspective, an eternal perspective, that, for all its hurt, is  healthy for me to consider. With my mother, my brother, and my sister, we have been “making arrangements” for my father’s funeral Friday.  So many details to work out!  So many decisions!  So many poignant, heart-breaking moments!  I’ve never been on this end of a funeral before, having to take an active role in planning the thing, while also being in the role not of comforter (as when other people’s loved ones die), but of  a person receiving comfort from other people.  I’m not used to that!  I do greatly appreciate the comfort people are extending to us–you, friends, people in my parents’ church and community dropping by, bringing food, showing they care.

Funeral customs I looked on with distaste now make a strange kind of sense.  “Visitation.”  (No good-old Wisconsin “wake,” I’m afraid, down here in Oklahoma, with no fortifying beverages.)  Open casket.  (I dread that, but I think I can handle it and need to handle it.)  We’ve got quite a few different theologies going on in my family, with me and my branch the only Lutherans, but so far we’ve been pretty much in agreement.

Any suggestions for “making the arrangements” and surviving the ordeal?

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.


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