I attended my cousin’s funeral last week. We’d been best friends as kids, but our lives had taken different paths and we’d lost contact. Her husband had died, her son had died and only one daughter (I’ll call her Mary) is still living. I’d spoken with my cousin in January and knew she was ill, but her death still came unexpectedly.
During the funeral service, as the minister read comforting scriptures, a cell phone began to ring. Heads turned looking for the insensitive individual. After what seemed an interminable time of fumbling, Mary’s husband answered rather than shut off the phone.
I simply could not believe it. How inappropriate! I moved emotionally beyond disbelief to anger as he continued to talk on the phone. Is there no such thing as respect anymore? These were the thoughts, among others, running through my mind.
After a while he handed the phone to Mary who continued speaking quietly. The minister stopped and asked Mary, “Would you like to do this now?” Mary answered, “Yes.” The minister then explained that my cousin’s granddaughter was unable to attend the funeral and would like to say goodbye to her grandmother. Mary stood and walked to the open casket. She placed the phone next to her mother’s ear.
A few moments passed while the granddaughter said goodbye. Mary sat back down. Silence filled the room.
Tears filled my eyes as I realized what was happening. How horribly I had misjudged the situation and the people involved.
I remember speeding to the hospital when my father was dying. I wondered what others thought as we sped by. I now view speeders differently, wondering if they too are involved in some tragedy.
Perspective is everything, isn’t it?
In church planting, you will be faced with new people and new situations. Try not to be so quick to judge them, for good or ill. Everyone brings baggage.