Funeral For a Friend

I realize this blog is supposed to be about technology and my insights into the diverse aspects of this topic, but sometimes the reality of everyday living must enter into the conversation as well.

I attended a funeral of a friend yesterday who I must admit I had not seen in almost two decades. It’s not that I didn’t want to but sometimes the awkwardness of a divorce, which I had or the moves, he had one and I have had two, create a distance in the relationship. When the announcement was made by family of his death, I knew this was a time when friends and family need to come together to say goodbye.

It was a traditional Christian funeral attended by many that knew and loved this man. Many words were spoken by those who fondly remembered and wished to comfort the family. As much as a person doesn’t want to be a part of these events, the inevitability of them and the reality that someday this will be you occurs to me while listening to the eulogy.

Much was said of the importance of family and what it meant to him during his life. These are all commendable words but as an outside observer I’m left to ponder, now what happens? This is after all a gathering of many who may not have seen each other for awhile or may not be talking to one another or disapprove of the choices another friend or family member has made. So as we are left with the memories and the brief gathering, now what? People still go on with their lives perhaps not all that different than before. Does anyone come away from these events and consider the opportunity for positive change?

In my several decades of living I have observed a phenomenon perhaps most damaging and self defeating for good relationships. It is almost a law or way of life unto itself. That is the burden of expectation. When I or someone else decides that someone we know perhaps even love doesn’t match our expectations, the results often create disappointment maybe even anger toward that person. We lay at their feet the burdens of meeting our expectations, especially family members and then become frustrated or angered when that individual doesn’t pick up or adapt to these expectations.

I often wonder and become amazed at our narcissism as we impose on others our thoughts, desires and beliefs suggesting to those around us to pick up the burden of my expectations or you are off the list. It could be off the Christmas card list, the kiss list or maybe even the being part of my life list. Most of us have experienced the burden of expectations from others and many times we take this list and make it our own but never fully understand all the nuances which come with this list of expectations.

As I left the funeral procession and attended the family get together afterwards, I’m left with the thought of how well will this family cope? Do they want to or will they be closer together after the loss of the father, brother, son or friend he represents? Will they continue to impose expectations on each other that are not fully understood or desired?

Throughout the eulogy the attendees were reminded of the ideal of love, unity, resurrection and the lifting of burdens through Jesus Christ. Can that message be the one that gets through to each member of the family and friends? It seems the practical and obvious place to start is to pick up that bag of burdens we have laid at the feet of the other and discard it while opening our minds to the thought that no matter what this person has done to seemingly hurt our feelings, we lay that aside and love them while we still have them.