While death is always difficult, some are harder than others. I listened as his dad spoke and said, "Kevin had a big heart, a big mouth, and big influence." He also went on to say that his son's life was more than this one last decision made in pain, confusion and despair. As the stories about the life Kevin lived rolled out, it was a flood of good deeds done in secret suddenly coming to light. He had touched each of the hundreds in the auditorium. Kevin had a gift for meeting needs and making people feel special.
Kristi has often spoken of her "Brother Al" over the years. The pastor made four points as he spoke at the funeral that are worth capturing so they are not lost. He encouraged all of us by saying...
1. This is not your fault. Everyone in this room will have thoughts of "If only I'd said this" or "If I'd called then." The pastor said that is a fruitless game of guilt and none of it true.
2. Suicide is not the unpardonable sin. The pastor highlighted that our beliefs about this are based in remnants of Catholic theology and not based in scripture itself. He said no matter what the circumstances that Kevin's pain and confusion are done. He is with Jesus. He is at perfect peace.
3. Self-destructive thoughts are not originating from you. He surveyed the room on how many people had struggled with self-destructive thoughts and a surprising number of hands went up. (I suspect there were many more of us who simply didn't raise our hands.) Brother Al said that God loves us and thoughts of harming ourselves are introduced as lies from the enemy. We have to capture those thoughts and reject them as lies, because when that thought is embraced it can become action.
4. Bitterness of soul and unforgiveness are like poisons you mix for your enemy then drink yourself. This point was unexpected and I was glad he included it.
Now that the funeral is over, the hard work begins for Kristi and the girls. The grieving process and building of the next chapter of their lives run in tandem. It blessed me so much yesterday to see that they are not alone. There are hundreds ready to love and support them as they cry, vent and rebuild.
I am honored to be in that number.