I always thought that the first Methodist funeral I attended would be of a sweet old woman name Bethel, my denomination like all mainline denominations is made up of a lot of old people. I love old people; I always have so I have no problem with being in churches surrounded by people with gray hair. I did however have a problem when the first Methodist funeral I attended was for my friend Kim Kaiser who was nowhere near being old; she hadn't even gotten the chance to graduate from college yet.
For those of you who don’t know me, I wear my emotions like the latest fashion trend, if I am sad I will cry loudly and openly, I feel no guilt or shame in being a person that shows how I feel, but when I got the news last Saturday that my friend Kim was killed in a collision I had no idea how to process the information. I sent out a text to 3 of my closest friends (Ned, Ty, and Bubba). I specifically didn't tell my mother for fear she would give me some Calvinist comfort about how this is all a part of God’s masterplan rubbish. Obviously, predestination brings comfort to some people, but I’m a pupil of John Wesley, my God doesn’t plan on killing 20-somethings in car accidents to bring Himself glory. Of the three friends I texted only one replied, Ned, and Ned went on to give me the exact answer that I didn't want to hear about how God was going to turn this experience into something good. I love Ned, I respect Ned and acknowledge that he is so much smarter than I am it is embarrassing, but I think/know that he is wrong. I don’t think God planned for my friend to die in the seat of her car on the way to pick up her cousin Hailey from a youth retreat, I don’t believe that God planned for her to die before we could go and see “Man of Steel” together, I don’t believe that God wants Hailey to feel overwhelming guilt for Kim’s death, that’s not the God that I know, the God that loves me and speaks to me and tells that I am created in His image.
Fast-forward to the morning of Friday June 21st, I am in FUMC Denton acting as a greeter; I have yet to break-down emotionally. I directed traffic until I sat with my friends from the Denton Wesley then the slideshows start, and the tears come. I managed to stay relatively stable until her aunt and uncle came forward to tell family stories about her, and then my eyes became waterfalls. Then came Rev. Cammy Gaston and she gave a great sermon about hope, and resurrection, but what was really awesome was the prayer afterwards. The prayer basically told God everything I was thinking, it brought frustrations with the injustice of a 22-year-old dying in a car wreck, yet the trust in God being with us, our very present help in time of trouble. It was healing, and theologically sound, trusting in God yet not an easy answer like “God is in control”, it was what my spirit needed. After the service ended my friends from the Wesley and I wept like babies on one another, then went to the reception to tell stories about Kim to her family, because the family wanted to know how she had blessed us.
|Lisa Gungor & myself|