Will The Circle Be Unbroken?

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Last night as I stood in the foyer of Crofts Crow Funeral Home in Blanco, my mind went back across the years – 38 of them to be exact. Across the years the sad business of doing funerals hasn’t changed much. I guess that is true since the recording of time.  Sometimes death is expected. Sometimes it isn’t, but regardless of whether families are ready or not, they find themselves immersed in grief and faced with the sad business of bidding farewell to loved ones.

 

Actually, I’m not sure one is ever really ready. Cognitively it is easy to process that the time has come, but when the hour finally arrives it is always ushered in with emotions that reframe the experience. Who can deny it? The death of a loved one is always more than you anticipate or expect.

 

Sooner or later in every life, the hour comes when the commanding need is for comfort. Moments come to each of us when our self-sufficiency is inadequate. Perhaps that is most evident in the death of a loved one. The Scriptures recall for us a time when Jesus wept. That, too, was on the occasion of the death of his close friend Lazarus. So this need for comfort is nothing for which to be ashamed.

 

Comfort often comes from standing fast as a family and supporting one another through the experience of loss. Friends also draw near and offer assistance. They are willing to do anything they can to be of support. But the ultimate source of strength comes from God himself. The good news of the gospel is that God doesn’t abandon us when life becomes difficult. He offers to support and sustain us through the difficulties.

 

Who can deny the importance of standing together in unity as a family? Across the years, I’ve seen families strengthened through the process of grief. I’ve also seen families torn apart and completely unravel in the process. Generally, the unraveling has more to do with inheritance and the belief that one’s perceived fair share wasn’t fair.

 

Last night brought back lots of memories for me. For almost four decades I’ve had the privilege of growing close to an extended family that bids farewell to a loved one later today. In fact, the family has treated us as family since day one of our arrival. Consequently we. too, share in the emotions that reframe the experience.

 

It has been years since I regularly listened to country music, but last night I could hear the voice of Johnny Cash singing “Will The Circle Be Unbroken” in my head. Do you remember the words?

 

“I was standing by my window,

On one cold and cloudy day

When I saw that hearse come rolling

For to carry my mother away

 

Will the circle be unbroken

By and by, lord, by and by

There’s a better home a-waiting

In the sky, lord, in the sky

 

I said to that undertaker

Undertaker please drive slow

For this lady you are carrying

Lord, I hate to see her go

 

Will the circle be unbroken

By and by, lord, by and by

There’s a better home a-waiting

In the sky, lord, in the sky…”

I had the thought that with the funeral that takes place later this morning, the circle will be unbroken. I will have had the experience of sharing in the final farewell of everyone of the five siblings and their spouses. In addition, I’ve grow old along with their kids. We talked about that last night. The last family member of that generation is being laid to rest today.

 

I have been privileged. You really get close to families when they are in the midst of grief and you have the privilege of providing comfort and support. We currently live on land that belonged to the patriarch of the family. We purchased it from one of his sons who thought we needed to be back in the community. Two decades earlier we had purchased family land from another son. It was on that location that we build our first home in Henly. Unfortunately, we sold it when we moved to Midland.

 

The old farmhouse is directly across from our home. Mr. Lauren was still living there when we first came to Henly. His wife had already gone on to be with the Lord. He had five children. Three still resided in Henly. Two didnt.  Over the course of the past 38 years, I’ve had the privilege of officiating at the funerals of each of Mr. Lauren’s (first name) children and their spouses. Or at least, that will be true at the close of today. At the close of the day, the circle will be unbroken. I will have had the privilege of bidding farewell to every family member of that generation.

 

Having had the privilege of knowing and loving them has enriched my life.

 

All My Best!

Don

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3 thoughts on “Will The Circle Be Unbroken?”

  1. Yes Pastor Don, you truly are enriched and we all are as well in knowing you, my friend. Your daily blogpost has now become the new “My Daily Bread” ministry that not only enriches me as a strive to a better Christian but also the spiritual enlightenment that gets me through my “Adventure of the Commonplace” each day. God Bless you for you are a “Special” Blessing to me.

    Liked by 1 person

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