On Weddings & Funerals

This week I attended a wedding and a funeral. 

The wedding was a ruckus affair, young hearts aflame with hope and inspiration, high fives and dance moves, a melding of different cultural and spirited expressions. I couldn’t wipe the smile off my face. 

The memorial for my friend’s wife’s mother was subdued, respectful, fitting for a room of gray hairs and no hairs. The wedding was the beginning of family.  The funeral was the ending of a generation past.  The party atmosphere at the wedding felt as if nothing in all the world would ever stand in the way of this union, this perfect image of what God intends for man and woman to enjoy.  The funeral was an expressive and deeply honoring eulogy of a woman who had lived and loved well and left a godly heritage in her wake. 

In almost every way, these two events were polar opposites.


Weddings are an unwritten story, or at least a partial one. Yes, there is a love story of twists and turns, foibles and fumbles of romance that serve as foundation and fodder for memories, the pylons that trust can be leaned on heavily throughout the coming years.  Yet, everything feels future oriented, hope in reserve.  Nothing seems impossible when love sits strong like rocks jutting from the sea. Batter away, waves of life, we are strong, and stronger together! 

In funerals, the story has ended, a rich and textured life from birth to final breath.  It struck me as I watched the pictures streaming across the screen that Carolyn’s life was remarkable, tough when life threatened, tender when whimpers came to her side. As a young mother she had to travel from one Japanese island to another for medical attention, having to endure a stillborn birth, all by herself; all 100 petite pounds of her.  These capsuled events, captured through her daughter’s words, were a filament for a light that will cast its beam far beyond her life. 

So again, what do weddings and funerals have in common?

It turns out, a lot.    

Weddings are filled with hope.  So are Funerals.  We grieve yet not without hope.  Weddings are the beginnings of life, but so are funerals for those who believe.  At journey’s end, Carolyn at last looked Jesus in the face, just like the bride in the wedding did. Staring into her Groom’s eyes, Carolyn no longer saw Jesus dimly.  She, the bride, and Jesus the Groom, in each other’s arms, with hope in reserve, eternity stretched so far, that time ceased to be relevant.  It’s how newlyweds feel as they taste eternity through the hope they create through their determined vows. 

The most anticipated part of a wedding is the long walk down the aisle, when the bride rests her hand on the arm of her Father, but has her eyes on her groom.  That happened at the funeral too, though it was hard to see. According to her daughter, Carolyn had a tough last couple of weeks.  It says nothing, however, except that it takes quite an effort sometimes to get down to the end of that aisle. Pain is life’s first sensation and will often be our last.  But death was Carolyn’s bridal moment, the coronation for a life lived under the surrender to God’s will!  At the wedding, the bride stood tall and picturesque, a towering figure before her groom.  There was little doubt that love filled that moment, all uncertainty gone, bliss and unbridled joy in full bloom. If we could have seen what was happening to Carolyn in those last days, not physically, but spiritually, we would have seen a similar scene unfold.  Her smile would be wide, her eyes drinking in every morsel of that march to the altar, and her hand resting on her Father’s arm would have trembled, just a little, because of the awe and wonder at the first glimpse of her Groom awaiting her.  It was said that in her final days, Carolyn did indeed get a preview, a peek into heaven!

Weddings and funerals have a lot in common, don’t they?  When we have settled in our hearts the certainty of heaven, surrendered our rights to the will of God, they become a perfect mirror of one another. 

I think that’s why for both, tears are always on the menu. 

One Comment Add yours

  1. daylerogers says:

    Remarkable insights, my friend. I love how you juxtapose these two events together and see the beauty in their similarities–though in this world no one would dare say they’re similar. Well done.

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