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Saturday, January 24, 2009

On becoming smaller

I spent much of yesterday either travelling for or at the funeral of a friend's husband. He was only 58, and though he had recently had some health problems, his death was very unexpected. They had been married for 35 years and have two adult children. Both of their children were married in the past year, and so are blessed to have the memory of their father at their weddings.

At the beginning of the funeral service, the pastor read a letter written by C. about her husband. It talked about his relationship with God, with his family, with his friends, with her, and with their children. Of all of these relationships, their marriage received two sentences, and immediately led into how important his children were to him.

I was so touched that C., even in the midst of the sudden loss of her love of the past 40 years, made so little of herself and was so focused on taking care of all of the people who had surrounded her husband. My take is that she is so safe in the reality of how much she was loved and how much she was at the center of his life that she didn't have to make any big deal or show of herself. That certainty enabled her to reach out and be a light and source of strength to everyone around her in the time of her greatest loss.

As I thought about that letter, I thought about things I have read or heard about humility, about letting God shine and act through you rather than making yourself the point of things. Sometimes I wonder just what that looks like. I think that yesterday God gave me an illustration of exactly what he's talking about.

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