Saturday, August 18, 2007

Yippee for funerals

Today was a sucky day in so many ways. I make an attempt to blog honestly although sometimes it's incredibly hard because there are so many confidential things in my life. It's just the nature of it when you are in the ministry. (And I hate it - sometimes I wonder why God chose me for this role in life when He knows I hate secrets so much and value transparency even more. )

Let's put it this way, I'll be crying myself to sleep tonight. I don't do this often - maybe once a year, quite honestly. I'm not a cryer. But when I am, I really am to the degree that the kleenex sticks to my eyelashes in little clumps and I feel like I can't breathe. Interesting that today's "Friday's Five" was on stress, and how I deal with it. :-) Should I have taken that as a prophecy? I didn't read that on the Elijah list or anything today... just kidding, actually I don't really read that. I just find it occasionally in my e-mail box from other people who want to tell me the official word on what God is getting ready to do. :-)

I find it interesting that the other day somebody sent me a prophecy that the bridge falling in Minneapolis meant that God was getting ready to bridge the gap between generations and bridge the gap between races and all this other stuff. And I'm thinking, "okay, that's got to be the dumbest thing I've ever heard. First of all, I don't think God made that bridge fall. I think He was probably grieved and crying for his children that it fell. Second, if God wants to bridge the gap between generations and races, he's not going to make a bridge in Minneapolis fall to do it. He's going to make the walls in people hearts come down and drop their pride and prejudice, but that's another story. If things like that in my e-mail box weren't so incredibly sad, they'd be funny. But anyway...

I'm getting up in a few short hours to go with Larry to the office - being that we only have one car and he doesn't get out of his meeting until shortly before mine, I have to go with him because it's the only way the schedule will work. So I'm going to get up at the crack of dawn, get dressed for a funeral, go teach my life coaching class, leave life coaching and go straight to a rehearsal for the funeral. This is a black funeral...my absolute favorite kind of funeral. Actually my ONLY kind favorite funeral if there is such a thing. (Although I really will miss the person who passed away - Val Livingstone. A delightful woman. And her passing is very sad to all of us left here on earth.) But, there's no other way for me to explain this other than to say that although I'm white, one day I really want people to give me a black funeral. If you have to die, well, this is the way to do it. It's absolutely incredible.

Tonight I was talking to my friend Joy Conley ( a friend of mine who is a pastor's wife -- she came to our outreach tonight) and she said, "Why are you having a rehearsal for a funeral? I've never done that before in our church." (She too plays the keyboard and does many things like this as I do.) I explained to her...the only "rehearsals" I have ever been asked to do have been for funerals for black people. This is because there is SO MUCH MORE - (in a good way!) to a black funeral than a white one. Actually, white funerals really totally suck compared to ANY of the ones I have been for black people. Here's what goes on...

I do not know if this is how it is all the time - I don't like to stereotype people or events, but this has been my experience -- and it has been an excellent one -- so I don't mind using the stereotype. If somebody out there has been to a boring black funeral, I'll stand corrected. But in my experience, we do umpteen songs and they are all so uplifting. It is a true WORSHIP service. There are about four or five preachers, who all have part in the service. They all talk, and for a long time, too -- but it's very exciting! Sometimes if a preacher shows up that they didn't even know was coming, they will ask him or her to come and say something on the spur of the moment. There are scripture readings that are powerfully done. (Picture TD Jakes on steroids...) It's all a wonderfully spontaneous happening. The keyboard plays the whole time in the background. It really never stops. I'm the one playing tomorrow and will play and stand for several hours, but I'm glad to -- it isn't boring, there's a lot of amen'ing and stuff and shouting. At the end we'll sing something really exciting like Heaven's Jubilee or When the Saints Go Marching In or Soon and Very Soon and we really do not feel we are at a funeral, but more like a Campmeeting Revival. I just did one of these funerals two weeks ago or so, and it had me feeling high for several days. Quite frankly it was more exciting than some church services I have been to. So maybe that's the key...if I'm depressed in the future, I just need to go find one of these funerals! (Although someone would have to die for that to happen and I really don't want that, of course.) Well, that will be my day tomorrow and quite frankly it sounds 100% better than some of what I dealt with today. So after the funeral I'll come home to get everything that isn't already wrapped up for Sunday, wrapped up.

There aren't enough hot fudge sundaes in the world...

There aren't enough elliptical machines that exist...

Not enough potato chips in the all the potato chip factories combined...

Not enough manicures...

Not enough pedicures...

Not enough Bealls or JC Penney's...

that could possibly change the way I feel right now.

But maybe the funeral tomorrow will make me feel better. You really know you're having a bad day when you are hoping a FUNERAL is going to jump start your life again and make you feel better. But yes, I'm actually looking forward to this funeral more than anything this weekend.

And then I just hope Sunday and Monday hold something good in store. I really need it. And if not...I thought about taking my day off next week and just sleeping, however since every single day is booked with important meetings and I don't have a day off next week at all - I'm speaking at a conference on the weekend -- I think something just needs to go right. That's just all there is to it. Something has to go right. Something really has to go right.

Because there's not enough of anything in the world to help me feel better except something supernatural...

Something other-worldly.

By the way, here are two pictures of me from tonight...one with a pig's head. Yes, a real pig head. Today we had a latin festival outreach at church. It did go very well - which is a bright spot in the day. We are launching our first service on Sunday with Spanish interpretation. Yeah! Tonight at the outreach (which was totally free) we had a ton of food served, music, Spanish dances, games, etc. We gave out advertisements about the launch of our Spanish interpretation. I think it was a great success. Well anyway, in addition to the baked chicken, rice and beans, empanadas, plantains and lots of other stuff, we had a whole 200 lb. pig that was roasted on a rotisserie. Then it was laid out flat in a great big huge box, the whole thing. One of the men in our church who is a board member and I had the task of deboning the pig and putting the meat in the roasting pans to serve. I actually volunteered to do it and was very glad to. And then he (board member - Bill) volunteered to help too and he's one of the nicest people in the world to talk to, so it was good. It gave me something to do that kept me very busy.

I head to the kitchen a lot of times if I'm stressed and just busy myself doing things. I don't ever mind serving behind the scenes anyway - I just love serving. Sometimes I'll stay in the kitchen during a whole church event and work especially if I'm really feeling stressed about something and don't want to be out front. It's easy for me to zone out and do dishes for a few hours, or wipe down counters repeatedly or whatever, while I just pray in my head in between talking to whoever talks to me. Today it was particularly nice because there was some Kirk Franklin music playing which I really enjoy...some of his ballads that are so powerful.) The other photo was taken by one of the ladies who told me she wanted to take a photo because I was standing in front of the fan at the conter and my hair was blowing. She told me she thought it would make a nice Myspace picture.

I'm smiling. All of you who are reading this who are pastor's wives totally understand. It really doesn't matter how sucky of a day it was...we always have our smile. It's part of the "pastor's wife's uniform".

3 comments:

Pastor Lisa said...

First, I'm sorry you had to cry yourself to sleep last night. Jesus saw it and takes note.

And how ironic you post about funerals! Mish went to her great uncle's funeral yesterday. It was a catholic mass. Mish grew up catholic and now finds herself sitting in our pentecostal church!

She personally wasn't used to talking during worship, amen'ing people, etc.

When she first came to ZTCC, I knew this about her and wanted her to feel comfortable during worship so I gave her a banner. If she couldn't say anything she could wave her banner.

Well she and her red banner are quite vocal now and they do a lot of pacing in the back of the church! You can even hear her amen'ing, and she'll even get up and testify.The last testimony had us all in tears!

Back to her uncle's funeral...she called me to say that she's writing her final wishes and she in no way wants a catholic funeral. She said there had better be banner waving, she said Lindsey better whip out the tambourine, she wants singing and hand clapping...nothing like the catholic funerals. I told her to make her family aware now cause they'll be surely overcome! She even said play the Kirk Franklin DVD and have everybody dance to his song "Stomp"...(have a Holy Ghost party with me and stomp!"

So Mish has ordered us to have one big penetecostal praise party when the time comes. I don't know if I'll be any good when the times come though.

Every funeral I've ever been too has been a homegoing if you will. A celebration of the life. You look in the casket and go...man I know she's enjoying Jesus for real, or they are where I want to be...

I was really taken aback when I went to Mish's dad's catholic funeral. It was SO QUIET. Void of any kind of emotion or expression of any kind.

So enjoy the funeral today... If it werent' for the casket, you'd really think you were in just another worship service!

Pastor L said...

Believe it or not, I actually attended a WHITE funeral once...in stoic, Scandinavian northern Minnesota, that was an absolute blast!

It was my former children's church director - her husband had passed away about a year before, and she had been struggling with cancer for almost that entire time. She was the sweetest lady, and we remember her saying, "If it's God's will that I'm healed, then I'll live on earth and serve him for however long he wants, but I'm really looking forward to just going home."

So at her funeral, all the kids who had ever been in her children's church got up and sang a couple of the songs that made us think of her. Then (per her request!), the funeral ended with an energetic rendition of "I'll Fly Away." People were dancing, clapping, smiling...you name it!

The reception afterwards was more like a wedding reception - it was so loud with people laughing and talking and making plans to go out afterwards, you could barely hear yourself think.

I was fifteen years old at the time, and that day, I made the decision that MY funeral was going to be like that. I have told all my friends and family repeatedly that as they walk the casket out, I want the song, "Spirit in the Sky" by Norman Greenbaum playing...

Tara Sloan said...

I'm tagging you... see
http://tarasloan.blogspot.com/2007/08/tag-im-it.html

:)