I attended a funeral for the father of my cousin and long time friend Neil yesterday. I was struck by the outpouring of love and caring expressed by the family and friends who attended the standing room only memorial service. The passing of my friend's dad was a sad event. I can't help but feel better for attending the service.
The priest was especially on target. He spoke about his experiences as a child and his fear of "God the Policeman", who was always ready to send unbelievers to hell. Yet he became a priest because of the message of love he found throughout the bible. I could tell he believed it.
I am particularly desensitized to funerals. I always feel like an observer. It has nothing to do with my lack of faith. You see, as a young man, I participated in the USAF Honor Guard for one six month period prior to mustering out. I attended 4 to 5 funerals a day, 6 days a week, for six months. I was taught to pull my feeling in so as to not intrude on the emotional experience of those who are there greave. 25 years later I still feel like an observer.
Neil - I offer my condolences to you and your family. I could see your pain and your strength yesterday. It moved me. The beer is on me the next time we meet.