Susan's funeral was yesterday afternoon (I wrote about her a few days ago). It was very beautiful, very sweet and very emotional.
The pastor did an outstanding job during the service, taking us all through the entire range of emotions -- grief, joy, laughter, contemplation, solitude and connection.
To emphasize connection, he talked about the story of Jesus and the family of Lazarus (found in John 11 for those following along at home). The pastor noted that when Jesus arrived back in Bethany, Lazarus' sisters immediately told Jesus the news. Lazarus was dead.
Lazarus was a close friend of Jesus, but Jesus didn't show grief. He knew that Lazarus would live again, so there was no sadness there. But then he saw that Lazarus' sisters and friends were all crying. He felt their pain, and did the human thing, the thing recorded in what is the shortest verse in the bible.
In that moment he was very connected with the other people there, and they were hurting, so his natural reaction was to hurt with them. That's exactly how it felt yesterday at Susan's funeral.
Several different people spoke, and they all told great stories and shared very personal reactions to the death of Susan. One woman in particular shared a poem entitled "My Thoughts, from Susan", which was a beautiful list of statements that Susan would say to us now. Things like, "Exhale, release, love again" and "Laugh and live today".
Most of us in the room believed, in whatever form, that Susan's story is not over. That her adventure continues in some way. It's an inherent belief that spans denominations and doctrines, and it's one that provides great comfort and perspective.
As the poem was being read, it really felt like the room connected. From Susan's children to the people who only knew her by association, we all felt the pain together. Susan's work was still going strong. She had brought us together.
And we wept.