Friday, August 15, 2008

A Difficult Farewell

Last Thursday I left w/the Cahills & our sweet friend, Ashley, for Sulphur Springs, Texas to celebrate the life of our friend, Larry Cameron. What a special time it was.
At the visitation, so many came to pay their respects. I counted 36 flower arrangements and plants. Sulphur Springs is not a big town, but Larry made a big impact for Jesus and it showed. The family had a container of Sharpie markers near Larry's black and orange Harley Davidson casket and asked each visitor to pen a short note. The casket was completely covered with notes thanking Larry for his friendship, for his example, for his care. At the funeral there was standing room only (and not much of that). The church was half filled with his friends from the Christian Motorcycle Association (C.M.A.) in their cool uniforms. Awesome! Following the very moving service, there was a procession of 76 bikes and at least a mile-long procession of cars as we made our way to the cemetery. Larry loved Nebraska football and each of the bikers flew Nebraska flags on their bikes (a BIG deal for these die-hard Longhorn fans). After a wonderful, horrible, precious, exhausting time, we arrived home Sunday night.

Last night was the memorial for Larry C. here in Omaha. Again, it was an incredible gathering of people who loved Larry. Many familiar faces were there. There was yet another contingent of the C.M.A. at the memorial. I know it must have been a comfort to the family and those very close to him to see all who attended. There were beautiful flowers and precious words from Pastor Ty, Larry's three brothers and his son, Jeremy.

I had the very special privilege of singing at both services. People often tell me that (if I outlast them...) they'd like me to sing at their funeral services. It is an honor to be asked. I am always humbled by it! If memory serves, Larry asked (told!) me one day while hanging out at the Cahill's house that he'd like me to sing at his funeral someday. After Larry's death, Jeff recalled that Larry had a specific song in mind: "How Beautiful" (Twila Paris).

Prior to this week, I don't believe I've sung that tune at a funeral or memorial service. I've done it MANY times at weddings, especially in the '90's. When I learned of this choice before we left for Texas, I was not sure that it was appropriate. Boy, was I wrong. Larry's was a life of service and sacrifice to Jesus lived out in his everyday life as he cared for his children, grandchildren, extended family and friends. He was an extension of the literal body of our Lord Jesus, giving his life away again and again for the glory of the Lord. I can't think of a more fitting song. See the lyrics:

Not to be too morbid, but as I looked around at the crowd last night, I saw many who have asked me to sing in their services. I had the thought that Larry's funeral and memorial are some of the toughest services I've sung at in a while...but they will not be the last (if the Lord allows), not by a longshot. I get this unbelievable opportunity to sing to folks whose hearts have been tenderized by great loss. I cannot even express how much that means to me. I don't know why I get this special privilege. I am thankful, though. I am so thankful to the Lord for it.

1 comment:

julie martin said...

your voice is a gift from God to others, whatever the occasion. how i wish i could hear you sing again!