Monday, October 20

living life to the fullest: the impact of Jake's funeral

Today was the second day I was at a funeral.  Two days.  Two funerals.  I hope this is not the new normal.  It is however a reminder that we are getting older.  And that our days are numbered by our Almighty God from the time of conception till we go "home" - God knows the number of our days.

Today's funeral was that of a friend. An older man, he was 79 although you would not have known that.  NOT that 79 is OLD but let's face it, it is 9 years more than the "3 score and ten" that the Bible refers to.

Jacob Klassen.  Same last name but not a relative.  It is like that in the German world ... many Klassens around.  (which also I should say, I have learned how to play the Mennonite Name Game with the best of them - having been immersed in this world for 40 of my 56 years!!)
Jake as he was often called, was a man within our congregation that affirmed me in ministry.  He was also always more than willing to help out in whatever way he could.  I appreciated many things about Jake - and among them was his willingness to serve, and he served with a willing heart and a ready smile.

Today I heard more about Jake.  I also saw pictures that he painted, and heard about poems that he wrote.  His nieces and nephews attested to his love, his help, his support, his always using the moment to be a "teachable" moment.  A true teacher to the core of his being.
There were pictures on his memorabilia table that gave visual proof to his travels - and his love for adventure.  We joined him on the mission trip to Thailand.  We will remember those memories.

I was blessed by the memories and reflections shared by his extended family.  I was blessed by the worship songs that were chosen.  I recited aloud along with the congregation - Psalm 121 which was a Psalm he loved.

I spent time connecting with people - Jake's funeral drew us back into the church that was our church for 32 years as a couple, and for almost 8 years as a Pastor.  I sat in the back overflow room, and looked around, recalling the times of sitting in the pews, of bringing my own two kids into the Sunday School rooms, of preaching many sermons, of praying with people, of joining women for Bible Studies and on and on.  Later I found out that Alvin was having the same sweet memories.  Jake's funeral brought us back into a place that helped raise us, and Jake and Agatha were two of those people who spoke into our lives, and later into my pastoral ministry with love and prayer and encouragement.

One of his great nieces, Angela, shared how Uncle Jake was a lover of the stories, and passed down stories and was writing his story too.  She shared how with him gone now, it is still necessary to keep talking about the history, about the life of the family as it passes down.  Its funny, because I have decided that I need to write my story.  Not sure if anyone would read it, but I am going to do it for my kids and for my grandkids.  A story of faithfulness.  A story of adventure.  A story of highs and lows. A story worth sharing, worth recalling and passing down.  My legacy.  Jake's life has encouraged me to do just that.  To "feel" life with all my being.  To live fully and allow God to take me the places that He has yet for me still to go.

I am only 56.  I feel young.  I have been told that I am a young Granny.  Apparently I do not look 56 although WHAT should 56 look like?  LOL   Even however at 56 I am so aware that my life is ticking by a day at a time.  And I really want to live fully .... I really want to GO BIG before I GO HOME!
I want to live with abandon to the ONE who has given me life to the full!  O Lord Jesus - you are such an amazing God.  I am 56 but I have lost peers in recent years.  I am young I feel, but age means nothing in the grand scheme of the "plan and purpose" that God has for me.

I am going to write my story.
I am going to continue to thank God for each day and live fully in the NOW.  I know He holds my future, so I need not worry about that.  God please give me grace and strength for each new day.
I am going to live without fear of the unknown future.  Fear only prevents us from the adventure!
I am going to enjoy the sound and sight and smell of life ...
I am going to have more sleepovers with my grands, and enjoy some spontaneous fun!
I am going to continue to live life with less rules and more spontaneity ... just because
(I tell Alvin that when it comes to things, he is the rule keeper!! :)

I just want to love life - and live it and write about it, journal, blog, draw, take pics or talk over a good fresh cup of bold coffee!  Just because!

Jake Klassen - you have lived a life of adventure but mostly a life of glory to God!  You have run the race - and I can just imagine that you heard God say "well done good and faithful servant - well done!"  Thanks for supporting me and affirming me in ministry - for always helping out when needed - and for showing us that you can live life fully and GO BIG until God calls you HOME.

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