“Sure Am Glad No Microphone Is Open in My Head!”
By Curtis K. Shelburne
Wow, it’s a good thing nobody can hear what I’m thinking right now. An “open mike” transmitting from my brain might show how incredibly jumbled it is today! I’m sure the funeral directors’ and, of course, the families’ minds are every bit as jumbled. It’s been a flood. But it’s never easy. And multiple services this week.
I’m thinkin’ . . .
The trick with anybody’s job, I guess, is that, if you do it right, it looks simple, and even if it’s “game on” in your head, thoughts are careening everywhere, and mental and real notes are stacking up.
Two funerals to officiate at. Two great guys. One of them my opposite number as we’ve grandfathered the same sweet granddaughters. I sure wanted those girls to have us both a lot longer. I hurt for the grieving families. With the families, sure am thankful the suffering is over. But these losses are gonna hurt us all a lot. But I can’t spare the luxury of dwelling on that right now.
Seen the families. Got great help from both. Great stories. Sweet, not bitter, tears. I judge the wounds to be very clean. No doofus fussing about somebody’s rocking chair or throttling their own shrivelled souls money-grubbing. These guys were both rich in what matters. Their families know it. Any inheritance that matters, they already have. Priceless.
Small in the whole scope, but my job’s a bunch easier since both families are the sort to stay in their lanes, let funeral directors, officiants, know clearly what they want, and let us do our job. (And everybody’s job, like it or not, is harder now with the COVID-19 mess. Sure would be nice if nobody got sick! All we can do is all we can do. Sure would be nice if everybody tried to be kinda careful, mainly to try to take care of everybody else.)
Both funeral homes are home-owned, top-notch, and have already coordinated scheduling together. So good!
Now to put the stories together. Both such good guys. So much good to say. Try to say for all the family/friends what each would like to say. But pick carefully. You don’t have forever. Don’t filibuster. Most of all, try to give God’s word of comfort. What are good Scripture texts, one for each of these good men? Lord, if you’ve got a preference, I don’t expect a note attached to a rock, but could you please . . . ?
Both men of faith. The real deal. Such good guys! So easy to love. So easy to like. Such real fathers, just like their Father. James was a talker and you were his friend even if you just met him. Dewey was a fixer and could make anything run right and run better and would do anything for you. One main Scripture each. What should I pick? What would the Father who delighted in them say? Try to say it. Better start lining up some words. Focus.
Do obituaries first. Obits always take the most work and time, even after the family has done a good job. NEVER just read names/dates. Use what the family gives as framework.
Before doing obits, nail down orders of service. One two nights ago. One last night. Get songs/music rounded up. Downloaded. Talk to music leaders. Talk to singer me.) Make sure songs and tracks are rounded up and lined up. Make sure sound system is ready. Don’t forget a cord or you’ll be sorry. Talk to audio/video folks at two churches. Communicate with three folks who will be speaking at one service. Line up a “line of defense” song on playlist just in case needed. Bring tripod if needed for Facebook Live. Get pics. Make sure dinner at our church is progressing. (Those gals are amazing.) Help set up tables. Replace ice maker filter and buy ice if that doesn’t work. Get slide show DVD.
Did I say it already? Focus! For once in your life, even though the night is peacefully quiet, try to write a funeral message during daylight. Or you could just do what you always do, fool, and stay up half the night so it’s fresh on your mushy mind.
Man, I’m glad nobody can hear these thoughts. But God’s blessing is going to come in all of this. It will.
Now, let’s just love each other like these two guys taught us to. Like our Father taught us to.
Now, park your rear in the chair and write.
Oh, did I remember to get the song lyrics?
Now, really. I mean it. Write.
Oh, crud! Did I leave this mike on!?
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Copyright 2020 by Curtis K. Shelburne. Permission to copy without altering text or for monetary gain is hereby granted subject to inclusion of this copyright notice.