A Surrogate Member of the Family #family #extendedfamily #footsoldierforGod
July 3, 2014
Yesterday, I had been invited by one of my best friends to be with her family as a mother and four daughters grieved the death of their beloved father during the viewing and funeral. Before I departed for the small town about 45 minutes away from me, I chiseled out some quiet time after my usual yoga practice and sat to listen for any guidance. The words I heard in my heart were: “Be still and let the family lean on you. Those simple words didn’t seem to mean that much in the moment, but as the day progressed, I understood completely why I had been given that profound message.
When I arrived at the funeral home, I immediately saw the partner of my dear friend. They are a lesbian couple in the midst of a very traditional family, which I thought quite interesting, especially in this small town. I hugged the girlfriend and proceeded inside to find the woman whose father died. She was standing in the midst of the chaos, still and poised. I went over to her, waited for her to finish a conversation with an elderly man, and then gave her the biggest hug. I could tell, right away, that she was relieved to see me, as she sighed and released some of her anxiety while we hugged. Remembering the words of spirit, though I felt as if I was intruding into something so personal, I asked permission to stay close to her. She responded, “Absolutely. In fact, I wish you would sit with the family during the funeral. Take a seat close to the front. When they usher the family in, I’ll motion to you to come and join us.”
I had never met her father, and I wanted to see what he looked like without getting too close to the casket, because I didn’t want to appear jaded and without grief. In that instance, one of the sisters of my friend hugged me. She had been a yoga student. We talked for a moment, then I went back to sit with my friend and her partner, until I was politely ushered into the chapel, so the family could have their final moments.
In the chapel, I sat with my eyes closed, near the front as asked, and listened to the beautiful and haunting music. In a few minutes the tearful family walked in. Just as she had said, my friend waved to me to sit between her and her youngest sister, who I barely remember meeting. I’m sure the entire family and friends were thinking, what is that unfamiliar man doing sitting with the family?
So, there I was between my tearful friend and a very distraught youngest sister, who was Daddy’s favorite. As I sat there, I felt as if I was not just a surrogate family member, but I was taking the place of the compassionate father in that instance. Many moments happened during the service when I reached over to the youngest sister to comfort her, and she fell into my embrace as if I had been her best friend for years. My dear buddy mostly held my hand during the service. It was then that I had realized that being God’s steadfast leaning post was a divine blessing to the family. Later, the youngest daughter told me I had been the perfect person to sit next to her, as she felt I was able to provide the comfort she needed. My friend was very thankful as well.
My insight is this: Sometimes we are to be the “Crystal in the Chaos” for God. We don’t have to be much. We must, however, just offer our humanness as a conduit for Spirit to use as needed. Yesterday, I was honored to be a compassionate foot soldier in the divine army of God.
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