On Sunday I went to a funeral for Greg Braun.
Greg was technically my mother’s cousin, but we always called him Uncle Greg. Every summer we would get together with that side of the family. I loved hearing the stories from Greg and his brothers Jim and Bruce. They provided family history and perspectives on my grandparents, my mother, and my aunts and uncles that were unique.
A year or so ago, I had sent Greg a friend request over Facebook. I didn’t realize until last week that this request had never been answered. As I was checking on friend request that someone had sent to me, I noticed that I had a pending request to Greg.
I find it interesting that I noticed this the day before Greg died. Normally I wouldn’t have thought anything of it–friend requests go unnoticed all the time. Many times I forget when someone sends me a friend request and I certainly harbor no ill will when others either do not respond to my friend request or do not connect for whatever reason.
Death has a way of making everything seem so final. It makes me think about “the last.” When is the last time I thought about Greg? When was the last time I reached out to him? When was the last time I prayed for him? When was the last time that I shared something with him?
I do not wish to be haunted by “the last.” I will reach out; I will pray liberally. (When I was in college, I had the thought to simply go through the student directory, call up fellow students and ask them what I could pray about for them. Fear kept me from doing so. But now, instead of asking, I will simply pray–for friends, family, former students, former colleagues, current students, current colleagues, leaders. I will pray, pray, pray.)
“I know that My Redeemer lives and… I will see Him.” And I will see Greg and other loved ones, too.
As I get older, it seems that funerals have become the new reunions. That pains me. But the promise of the resurrection gives me cause to smile, even in the midst of sadness. There eventually will be “last times” for everything, but the “last time” is simply a foretaste of the forever to come.