Sing the praises of the Lord, you his faithful people; praise his holy name. For his anger lasts only a moment, but his favor lasts a lifetime; weeping may stay for the night, but rejoicing comes in the morning. (Psalm 30:4-5)
Funerals are like weddings with a really bad ending.
You have lots of friends over. You see people you haven’t seen in a long time. There’s lots of music, flowers, gifts, food and drink. Normal life, as we know it, stops for a while, and you have a chance to reflect on the really grand things in life. You tell stories, share pictures and remember the things that got you to this point. And to a certain extent at both events, you party. But for both the wedding couple and the one left behind, nothing will be the same again.
It’s when the party’s over and everyone goes home, back to their normal routines, that the difference between these two events becomes a stark reality to the one who survives a loved one. The wedding couple adjusts up; the survivor adjusts down. The wedding leaves a mess with lots of good memories; the funeral leaves just a mess.
It’s the next day that is the most telling. It’s the next day that the one who survives a loss needs our prayers and our love the most, and the day after that … and the day after that, even more. The wedding couple wakes up no longer alone. The survivor wakes up and wishes he hadn’t; the silence is so devastating. Depression sets in. The reality of the loss hits harder than ever because up until now, there were distractions everywhere. He hardly had a chance to be alone. There was always someone there and some decision to make about something, The day after, everyone returns to their lives pretty much the same as when they left, but he is left with a huge gaping hole in the middle of his “normal” life, and everything around him is a reminder.
The Psalmist says that weeping may stay for the night, and in this case, it will be a long night. The night can last several days … weeks … months … but the morning will come, and when it does, it will come with rejoicing. God’s favor lasts a lifetime.
The further out you go, the more you realize that time heals, and eternity erases all sadness but the one Christ bore, that we might be reunited with all loves.