Life is short.
But I’m not afraid. When I die, I hope you dance. I hope you do a full-out jig.
Stop giving me that awkward stare. I’m really not that crazy.
I attended a funeral last fall. Unfortunately, I’ve been at quite a few in the last year. But this one was traumatizing, unlike anything I’ve experienced previously or since, from the about-to-rain suffocation of the low-hanging storm clouds, to the crunching gravel beneath the wheels of the hearse, to the utter silence of the people, to the tomb-like, clammy chill in the air. The ghostly rustle of starched black fabric of the people walking towards the graveside was almost more than I could bear. What was the worst, though, was the total lack of communication and expression. Almost no one–out of hundreds–spoke to the grieving family. Almost no one cried.
And even though the one who died was a jubilant follower of Christ, no one celebrated.
When I die, I hope you dance.
I hope you hug my family, and cry if you need to and laugh if you want to and don’t feel embarrassed if you do both at the same time. I hope you’ll understand that if your heart is sad, you don’t need to say a word. Just be. And realize the truth.
I am safe from the world of harm, and have the rest of eternity to explore my Father’s nature, to bask in His pure, unspeakable love, to uncover the mystery and beauty of an unseen kingdom.
It is a time to celebrate.
When I die, please don’t wear black. I hope you wear all the colors of the rainbow. Blue and orange and turquoise and yellow and every shade in between.
I hope you sing Blessed be Your Name. I hope you raise your hands towards heaven.
I hope you clap. I think the Savior deserves that much expression, at least, for redeeming a creature like me and leading me safely home. It’s a home I’ll be ecstatic to be in.
I hope you celebrate. You can celebrate my life, if you really want to, but what I really hope you celebrate is my King.
Celebrate the glories of heaven. I don’t want the pastor to talk about ashes to ashes, dust to dust and all that racket. I want him to tell the gospel message. But don’t use the word “gospel”, please, Pastor. Use simple, everyday words like love, freedom and peace. Explain the Father’s love, because it is AMAZING, and I don’t think I told the ones I love enough about it and how it transformed my life. Vividly display it as best you can, Pastor. Jump around a little.
Tell about the passionate, unshakeable, transforming, peace-oozing love of an incredible Prince of Peace. Talk about His love for the downtrodden….. how He bore (literally carried, experienced, was wounded by) our griefs and carried (took upon Himself) our sorrows.
Make sure you mention that He definitely does not have a thing for flowery words or perfectly choreographed actions. He’s totally cool with the unspoken cry of a desperate heart or the collapsed form of a beggar. It’s the kind of medium He can work with best.
Basically, Pastor, just make sure you let everyone know that His love is here, now, forever and REAL.
When you lower my casket into the ground, I want the kids to have confetti and glitter to toss, because it will be a small chance for them to remember that they can join in the celebration of the angels, even though they are still stuck down here on earth.
I want a cloud of colorful balloons to be released into the air.
I want the balloons to symbolize my spirit set free from the limitations of my old sin nature and flimsy body.
I want you to remember only one thing when I am gone. Eternity is real. Heaven is pretty unspeakably awesome, and I really hope we can spend it together. Cuz we’ll have way more fun than we ever did here on earth.
I hope that if you never thought about life after death, or a passionate Lover who can’t be seen with earth-eyes but can be felt when no visible person would dare to venture near you, or a Lord who is willing to forgive the darkest sin (trust me, you’ll never know what kind’s I’ve committed. I can talk.), if you never considered these things, I hope you’ll know that it’s not too late!!
There’s this cool love letter around. You don’t even need to go dig it off of some old dusty shelf. You can read part of it here. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKmdIdQg3Ks
I hope that if you thought you’d never see me again, you’ll meet the King of Kings, and reconsider.
And when you truly meet Him, you will fall in love. And then, when your heart is at ease like you’ve never known before, and the smile of forgiven wrongs splits your face, and your eyes shine so brilliantly with the light of heaven that you surprise yourself when you look into the mirror, and the overwhelming reality of the love of your Heavenly Father comforts you in a way that you never though could be possible….
I hope you dance.
I’ll be dancing too.