This morning I attended a funeral for a 90 year old church member. The family invited another minister to officiate so I was able to sit in the back, watch, and pray. I visited the woman at the care facility where she spent her last months. She had Alzheimer’s. I’d sit on the floor on the mat next to her bed and read Psalms to her. The funeral was of the best kind, with memories and laughter.
The minister described heaven as ‘a new dimension with new possibilities.’ I like that phrase. In my funerals I speak of ‘continuing an eternal pilgrimage.’ You have to work to describe life after death in ways that are not perfunctory.
In addition to the funeral, I made two hospital visits today, wrote newsletter articles, and finished Carrie Doehring’s book on pastoral care. Her discussion was technical and clinical, and much of what she addresses is beyond the scope of what I do. Still it was useful to read. For her, pastoral caregivers draw alongside people in a relationship of trust, listen to their stories, help them come to terms with loss and threat, and guide them in their quest to connect with God and rejoice in the goodness of life.
We joined two friends for dinner at Alpha Koney. I had a bowl of chili. The waitress had turquoise nails, and a man in a booth across the aisle carried a carved cane with a Native American dreamcatcher on the handle.