How many of you have thought about what you'd like for your funeral? Beyond cremation and burial, what music do you want? Who do you want to speak and what do you want them to say? Once a group of friends and I wrote our obituaries and it was interesting to consider what I'd like for people to say about me when I die, what I'd like to have accomplished, who might have been born or died in my family, how old I'll be and what I'll die from, where I'd like donations to go.
When my dad was going in for surgery the last week of his life, my youngest sister told him that our sister from Orlando was coming to town. It was rare for her to come unless we were celebrating something and he asked if the doctor had told us to call her. My sister said no, but that he had said it was serious surgery. My father began to tell her the songs he wanted sung at his funeral and who he wanted for his pall bearers.
To have been so clear at a time when he must have been scared out of his mind tells me that he had been thinking about this for a while. My sister had the presence of mind to write it all down, and when we had his funeral a week or so later, we followed his wishes.
Over the past three and a half years since his death, I've tried to remember many times the title of one of the songs he requested. I could only remember, as the congregation sang, being very moved by the lyrics and what they might have meant to him.
Last night I was coming home from yoga and had Pandora on my radio. How Great Thou Art, a song often heard at funerals, came on and I tried to recall once again the song from the funeral. And then the very next song that came on was it: Great is Thy Faithfulness (it was this version played by Chris Rice).
Because I couldn't remember the words, I thought that my dad might have chosen it because it was about a believer who had been faithful to God. My father wasn't perfect by any means--who of us is?-- but I think the early death of my mother was a wake-up call for him and he realized then that many times there are no second chances.
But tonight, preparing to write this post, I finally looked up the lyrics and now I realize that the song is about God's faithfulness to us. His choice of the song took on a totally different spin. He felt that God had faithfully loved and blessed him. I was touched just as strongly as the day of his funeral.
Here are the lyrics:
Great is Thy faithfulness, O God my Father;