I had the awesome privilege of attending the funeral of my best friends grandfather this weekend.
It was quite possibly the best funeral I have ever attended. It all started as I pulled into the country church parking lot. The church reminded me a lot of the church my dad grew up in. Small country church everybody knows everybody and everybody comes out to celebrate the “ going home” ( as my family would call it ) of a life.
Culturally it was the greatest experience of my life for many reasons. I have had the privilege of growing up in an area of the country where we are the most diverse county in all the southern states. I loved this for myself growing up and I genuinely love this for my kids so that they will expect that of all places they go wherever life takes them.
But I have never been the only white person somewhere. Admittedly I was a little nervous. I felt like I was intruding on someone’s private family affair. But I’m here to tell you, I have never felt so loved in a church in all my life and I happen to attend a very loving church that I adore. So that’s saying a lot about this congregation. And all it took was me willing to say hello. Why did I think it would be otherwise. I said hello and all 6 pastors met me at the door, shook my hand, told me they were happy to have me there and never once made me feel like an outcast. The church was already packed by the time I arrived. It was a 2 hour jaunt to the church from my home and worth every minute. I slid past many people standing in the back and nuzzled my way onto a piece of wall. The gentlemen next to me and I struck up a conversation. Turns out he was the nephew of my best friends mothers husband. All the gentlemen in the back insisted that all the women had a seat and all of the men stood.
It’s hard to describe how incredible the songs were that they sang and the depth of feeling and belief that came as they belted out each word. One song said “ he done moved over to his new home”. Good heavens I was taping my feet and singing right along. I called my friend that night when I got home and said “ all I know is when I die the AME church is doing my funeral and singing that song”. It was a joyful ceremony. And in the end the final pastor said let me say one more thing “ John Henry.. well done “ and then the pastor turned those words into a song and we all sang just the words Well Done over and over and the family and flowers left.
After the ceremony I was in the restroom and had a powerful point hit me. One of the ladies in this teeny bathroom we were all shoved into ( why do we not have more women bathrooms .. the men’s is never used 🤣) said I am Kens sister. Ken is the husband of my best friends mother. Anywho I digress I said to her… you are Kens sister. My mom and Shirley taught together for 8 years and my dad performed Shenese’s wedding. She said “ oh you are the judges daughter “ and it hit me … we are all known by Who’s we are. I am either known as The Judges Daughter, or Sally’s girl or Steve’s wife or Zoey and Cristos mom. But being at a funeral will make you realize all those names are important and cherished. But none of them are lasting the only “Who’s you are Name “ that will matter in the end is were you a son or daughter of the King, of Jesus
Himself. When it is your time to be down front and have people shoved into a church to celebrate your life will they be able to sing “ Well Done”.
Glorious Beautiful Day as we celebrated the name John Henry.