Written by Paul Penner Tuesday, 24 February 2009 13:53
“The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” (Psalm 34:18)
Stanley G. Funk, son of Orison and Agnes Funk, brother to Patricia Funk Esau, was laid to rest this week. In honor of his life and passing, I write this column in letter form.
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I cannot imagine the immense joy and wonderment you are feeling right now, surrounded by angelic beings and in God’s presence. Nor can I imagine the last days of your life, while beset with overwhelming circumstances that, from this time, is but a memory of your life on earth.
From the time of your birth, even as you were born, you suffered from lack of oxygen and were unable to learn and grow into the man God made you to be. Physical pain has been your constant companion through much of your life. I cannot imagine nor understand what that was like.
When I think of your life and mine, I am saddened that our experiences were so different. My birth did not begin like yours, a breach baby struggling to emerge and breathe. The journey lasted well beyond the normal window of time, depriving your body and mind of oxygen.
As I grew, learning and mastering new skills was a normal process. From day one, your ability to learn and increase your mental acuity was already determined. We played together when our family came to visit and you were easily excited. Though unable to adequately express your thoughts with words; you would jump up and down while moving your arms around. Even though I accepted your limitations, as most children do, I did not fully understand them.
I remember you held a small Bible, carrying it with you. You even had a picture of Jesus. Those items were your most cherished possessions.
Though I matured from adolescence into my teen years, you remained as a child, yet trapped in a young man’s body. I experienced all the emotions, all the joys and sorrows of life. Did you experience them, too?
Perhaps the one thing we do have in common is that we feel the impact of joy or sorrow and express it in our own way, even though we may not fully understand why we feel that way.
That’s all in the past for you. Even as friends and family surround your loved ones here on earth, as we mourn your passing, we celebrate your arrival at your final destination with God. You are home!
Perhaps it was more than a coincidence; for almost a week, I’ve been listening to a favorite album of the musical group, Mercy Me. As they sing the refrain of one song, my heart soars when they sing, “My heart will fly, when I finally see you face to face. My tears will fly away, away!”
Another song, “Finally Home” echoes my desire to enter the place where you are now. Little did I know then, that you would experience that joy so soon and finally be released from the burden you had since birth.
You’re finally home!
Your cousin, Paul