I was so blessed to play and sing in a memorial service yesterday. The man who had passed away had Alzheimer's and was way ahead of my husband in that journey, although they were the same age. I had had some very precious and memorable times visiting with him and his wife over the past several months. Now his struggle was over and some things spoken at his memorial service deeply impacted me. One man stepped up to the podium and said, "Jerry never told me his testimony. He didn't have to. He lived his testimony. His life had a ripple effect. I saw him impact lives for Christ and then those people touched and changed others' lives and then I watched it keep going, even down through his generations. I knew his favorite hymn was It is Well With My Soul but I never heard him sing it. I just saw him live it. He lived It is Well With My Soul!"
Another man spoke about these passages from Ecclesiastes 7:1-4:
"A good name is better than fine perfume and the day of death better than the day of birth. It is better to go to a house of mourning than to go to a house of feasting, for death is the destiny of every man. The living should take this to heart. Sorrow is better than laughter because a sad face is good for the heart. The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning but the heart of fools is in the house of pleasure."
Profound revelation! Allow me to share with you my own thoughts about this passage, which at first seems very difficult to understand. The day of our birth is the first baby step of the Divine School, the earthly Testing Ground that we must attend and navigate. As newborn infants, all those years lie before us - every tough learning curve and every mistake we will make. But the learning curve is our purification process - our refining fire - and the mistakes, the disappointments, the heartaches, accidents and illnesses that test us all bring us closer and closer to Yeshua/Jesus, our Loving Teacher and Savior. It is in those times that we grow. It is in repentance that our sad faces and our hearts of mourning are brought near to Him and made holy. Ultimately, at the end of life here on earth, we who have lived for Yeshua have made for ourselves a "good name"; leaving behind us a long and lasting legacy of faith in God that is passed down through our generations. Even if one's children have not yet come to faith during their lifetime, it has certainly been known to happen that through their mourning and remembering, the children come to Christ. They have been watching us! All these years they have been watching us, and even if we have not spoken to them our testimony, they have seen us live it out. And when we have breathed our last, the people in our lives gather to the House of Mouring where they are blessed in the remembering of a good and Godly life, celebrating that person's Promotion to Glory! Those moments of celebrating a Good Name, cherishing the memory of one who really did bring Christ's love and light into this dark world, are better than a drunken Friday night party pierced with laughter at the bar! "A sad face," wrote King Solomon, "is good for the heart." Our tears and our sad faces work for us more intimacy with our Maker. The heart of the wise is in the House of Mourning, endeavoring to follow in the footsteps of one who has finished the race well!
At the end of the service yesterday, we sang Jerry's favorite Hymn, It is Well With My Soul, and even though I've sung that hymn a hundred times and even recorded it, I sang it with new wisdom and new hope. I don't want to just sing that song anymore; I want to live it! In the midst of this dark and chaotic world I want to live It is Well With My Soul!
Kelly Ferrari Mills