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Tammy's Memorial

Added: Monday, August 12th 2019 at 2:14pm by bigfatdaddy
 
 
 

 I was asked to speak at Tammy's Memorial Service.  This is the talk, I wrote some of it a few years ago for another funeral I was speaking at, I repeat those parts not from laziness but because those parts speak to my heart and soul and give me strength when my eyes are blurred.  It is long so if you don't have the time or energy for it, I get it.  MC wanted me to post it because of the many positive comments we got after the service. 

 

 

 

C.S. Lewis was a Christian writer and philosopher who wrote many books and papers about developing faith and overcoming life's adversity.  He wrote short books, childrens' books (Narnia and such), and he wrote books designed to be debated at college level.  He was a Fellow and Tutor at Oxford and later the Chair of Medieval and Renaissance English at Cambridge.  

In the movie "Shadowlands", the unusual story of him and his wife was portrayed.  Their marriage started out as more of a convenience than anything else.  But they grew to love one another. She became ill with cancer and after brief remission, she died.  In the movie about their life together, as he was approached by his fellow Christians and academics, he cut short their expressions of sympathy, saying, "It's a bloody awful mess and that's all there is to it." 

In spite of all his faith and understanding, Lewis was faced with the reality that separation hurts.  That no matter how strong you are, or how strong your testimony is, the loss of one you love is painful.  And in his case, Lewis felt as if the Lord had turned His back on him.  He wrote about his bitterness and the internal struggle he suffered in "A Grief Observed".  He chronicles the fundamental issues of life and death and faith in view of loss.  He tells how he lost all sense of meaning and then, how he gradually was able to regain his perspective.  "You cannot see clearly through eyes blurred with tears". 

Being separated from someone you love is hard. We live with separations all of our life.  Before this life we lived a premortal existence with our Heavenly Father.  We were separated from our loved ones when we left that plane to come to this Earth.  To our loved ones there that were left behind, that must have seemed like death does to us.  We agreed that being separated from our Heavenly Father would be for our good...even if it hurt.  We sometimes have to endure separations from our loved ones in this life.  My oldest son has recently retired from the Army, he was deployed to Iraq three times, Korea once, andPeru.  We watched the effects of separation on his family (and lots of other families here, too).  It reminded me of how hard it is to do things when your right arm isn’t there.  Everything from that empty, "something's missing" feeling to planning trips to the store around school schedules.  No one to help with the dishes, no one to put your icy feet on at night.  And these separations are, hopefully, temporary...the separation that death brings is much more daunting.  Because, even though we know that death is a temporary separation...we have faith in that...it still looks pretty permanent from here.  Death is the number two greatest fear of people in the US today.  Those who believe in God and have faith in Christ have a little advantage over those who believe that death really is the end of everything.  Believers have lots of scriptural accounts of whathappens when we die.  But none of that really makes the pain of loss any easier.  We grieve because someone we loved is no longer with us.  We can talk confidently about their not suffering anymore, that they are in a better place, that they have loved ones around them...and true as that is...they are still not here...and we miss them...and we hurt for that loss.  As it should be.  We all suffer grief, it is part of our training while here...even the Savior grieved.  Grief can be based on that faith and understanding we have...and filled with praise to our wise and loving Heavenly Father who allows us to experience it.  Grieving  will bring us closer to our Heavenly Father as we lean on him for support...as we are tried, we have the opportunity to grow and become better...to exercise our faith and hope.  Hope in Christ, that we will be reunited, that everything he taught us is true. 

Hope that the principle of the resurrection is true, that when we die, our bodies and our spirits are separated.  When the resurrection comes, our bodies will be reunited with our spirits and be whole, we will rise again.  That is because Christ laid down his body and took it up again, we all will have that great blessing. 

1 Corinthians 15:22: 

"For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall be made alive." 

Hope that the principle of repentance is true:  that if we forsake our sins and turn to the Lord and obey Him, we can be forgiven.  He made it possible for us to satisfy the law of justice; requiring that there be consequences for sin, a price to be paid...a suffering...by establishing the law of mercy, whereby he paid those consequences for us with the stipulation that we don't sin anymore. Through his actions on our behalf, we can be forgiven for our misdeeds.  We have a part in this, too.  We have to recognize the error of our ways, feel genuine remorse for what we've done, and notdo it again.  By exercising the principle of repentance, we align ourselves with God's will, draw closer to Him until we reach the point where we no longer desire to do wrong.  We do right for right's sake.  

Ezekiel 18:21-22 

"But if the wicked will turn from all his sins that he hath committed, and keep all my statutes, and do that which is lawful and right, he shall surely live, he shall not die.   

And all his trangressions that he hath committed, they shall not be mentioned unto him; in his righteousness that he hath done he shall live." 

Doctrine and Covenants 58:42: 

"Behold, he who has repented of his sins, the same is forgiven, and I, the Lord, remember them no more." 

Those are a couple of scriptures that I dearly love.

Hope that the ordinance of baptism will truly wash us clean of sin, and open the door to membership in his  Kingdom...here and hereafter. 

Hope that the principle of "Opposition in all Things" is true.  Meaning that the depth of this pain must be matched by heights of happiness...that this intense sorrow must be matched by equally intense joy.  That is why we should thank our Father in Heaven for the experience of life, the good and the bad.  It is true that if we never knew sorrow, how would we know when  we are happy?  This principle is a hard one to embrace...cause when we are happy, we want it to stay that way. Man is that he might have joy...but you got to have the other to know when the joy comes. 

Hope that the promise of Eternal Life is true.  That  when we have repented, been baptised, obeyed, experienced the sorrows and pains of this life, been resurrected, we will be allowed to return to his presence once again...forever joined with our loved ones. And our reward for enduring it well and obeying God's commands?  My Sunday School class knows the answer to this one, we say all the time:  The Father will give us everything He has. 

As Nephi approached the end of his life, he gave some of his most stirring counsel to his people...in 2 Nephi 31:20 he said: 

"Wherefore, ye must press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and of all men.  Wherefore, if ye shall press forward feasting upon the word of Christ and endure to the end, behold, thus saith the Father:  Ye shall have eternal life" 

It is interesting that Nephi didn't say to cruise easily with a steadfastness.  There is an image here of pressing, pushing, ...making an effort at being steadfast.  Boyd K Packer taught us that it is like swimming up stream.  If you don't keep at it, you get washed back down.  We have to keep pressing forward.   

In Ether 12:4 we are told: 

"Wherefore, whoso believeth in God might with surety hope for a better world, yea, even a place at the right hand of God, which hope cometh of faith, maketh an anchor to the souls of men, which would make them sure and steadfast, always abounding in good works, being led to glorify God" 

Ether compares faith and hope to an anchor in a man's soul.  Anchors keep boats from drifting away...in landscaping, an anchor is built into a retaining wall to keep the wall upright and true.  Next time you are in old Colorado City, cruise around the old neighbor-hood over there and look at all the retaining walls that are bowed out, or fallen down,  made  without proper engineering.  Our faith and hope act as anchors to keep us from drifting or warping...causing us to want to do good works. 

In Moroni 7:41-42 says: 

"And what is it that ye shall hope for?  Behold I say unto you that ye shall have hope through the atonement of Christ and the power of his resurrection, to be raised unto life eternal, and this because of your faith in Him according to the promise. 

Wherefore, if a man have faith he must needs have hope; for without faith there cannot be any hope." 

In D&C 42 we are commanded to live together in love insomuch that we shall weep for the loss of them that die...we have had more than enough opportunity to do that lately.  I am amazed at the strength of friends who have suffered loss of children, parents, spouses and other loved ones.  They have faith and their testimonies are strong.  A widowed sister had a conversation with her doctor, she told him, "I am lonely but I know  where my loved one is and I will see him again." 

Knowing who we are does make things a little easier to understand...this little poem by Victor Hugo exemplifies what our attitude should be: 

"Be like the bird that pausing in her flight

awhile on boughs to light

feels them give way beneath her, and yet sings

knowing that she hath wings "

Knowing who we are gives us perspective allows us to see clearly in spite of the tears, makes it possible to maintain a testimony when our hearts are broken, and encourages us to exercise that hope in Christ by laying our burdens at his feet and saying, "This is too heavy, Lord...help me bear it up."

We are children of our Heavenly Father, We have wings.

  He loves us. 

Neither life nor death can separate us from the love of God. 

In 2 Nephi 1:15: 

"But behold, the Lord hath redeemed my soul from Hell; I have beheld his glory, and I am encircled about eternally in the arms of His love." 

At the end of "Shadowlands", CS Lewis concludes that both the joy and the sorrow are part of each other 

"That's the deal." He says. 

That is the deal, we experience it all in this world so that we are better prepared for the next.  Where we will be together with those we love, and will be with our Lord. 

At my father's memorial service, I asked that this song be played.  I love the sentiments expressed in the words:

My life goes on in endless song

above Earth's lamentations,

I hear the real, though far off hymn

that hails a new creation.

 

Through all the tumult and the strife

I hear its music ringing,

It sounds an echo in my soul.

How can I keep from singing?

 

What though the tempest loudly roars

I hear the truth, it liveth.

And though the darkness round me close

Songs in the night it giveth.

 

No storm can shake my inmost calm

while to that rock I'm clinging

Since God is love of heav'n and earth,

How can I keep from singing?

-Robert W. Lowry

 

 

User Comments

This is really eye opening. Thanks for a great post.

Thank you for reading.

 You are welcome, it was worth it.

Powerful stuff, my friend, but I'm certain you already know this.  Opposition in all things, a greater universal truth has never been spoken.  Mercy tempers the hand of perfect justice, it must, just as love tempers apathy, hand-in-hand with hate.

So sorrow must temper joy, the flow goes both ways.  Those who have faith don't despair, even as they suffer, because as you said, faith is the anchor which allows hope to exist.

You know how I feel about hope, and this ain't the place for that discussion if it's faded to a darkened memory bank, not now, not now. 

My heart continues to ache for you and your family.  You done good at Tammy's service.

Want to share something from Rilke's Book of Hours.  There are multiple translations so I chose the simplest, but of course it's best read in the tonge it was written in, for literal translations always lose something.

Ich lebe mein Leben in wachsenden Ringen,
die sich über die Dinge ziehn.
Ich werde den letzten vielleicht nicht vollbringen,
aber versuchen will ich ihn.

Ich kreise um Gott, um den uralten Turm,
und ich kreise jahrtausendelang;
und ich weiß noch nicht: bin ich ein Falke, ein Sturm
oder ein großer Gesang.

  (Rilke, Das Studenbuch, 1905)

I live my life in widening circles
that reach out across the world.
I may not complete this last one
but I will give myself to it.
 
I circle around God, around the primordial tower.
I’ve been circling for thousands of years
and I still don’t know: am I a falcon,
a storm, or a great song?

 

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The German was a challenge but I surprised myself, I wouldn't have been real confident in my translation had you not included the English but I pretty much nailed it.  You know I have avoided religion and for the most part, politics but I felt that, like with "Sitter", I thought that maybe someone might benefit from it.  Thanks for being you, Sabrina.  We love you.

I love you guys too, and wish there was some comfort to offer, but there is nothing even remotely approaching the comfort of your own faith, all else pales in comparison.

And 'someone' will benefit from what you've posted here. In fact, she already has.

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You said what needed to be said, and did it so beautifully!  My heartfelt condolences go out to you and MC.

Thanks, maggie.

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