5. Anyone from Cumnock, Scotland – you wouldn’t take a chance on me as a student minister cos I’m a girl – really? Because some gal before me hadn’t been such great shakes, suddenly all women are suspect? Really? A coal town wouldn't take a chance on a gal from West Virginia? Really? Well, it did work out for the best, both for you and for me, so I guess you can come if you want to, but why would you? We never even met, did we?
4. Anyone who has somewhere more important to be. No hard feelings, but if you don’t have the time – if you start looking at your watch beyond a certain point – just give it a miss – we’ll both be happier for it.
3. Anyone who doesn’t know that you bring food to my family and friends as an expression of sorrow or regret and caring for the living. It’s bad form not to bring food, so if you can’t be bothered with the obligatory (and it is obligatory) home-made casserole dish, you’d better skip the funeral (unless you’re coming from more than 100 miles away - a rough rule of thumb, but it’ll do).
2. If you don’t know me well enough to know my kids’ names, don’t come.
1. If you can’t laugh at all the silliness of my life, stay home - this funeral isn’t for you.
And a special shout-out to Milan Cikovich, who stands in a category all his own – because at age 7, Milan told me there is no Santa Clause and I’ve never gotten over it – those childhood wounds run deep. But the Easter Bunny’s real, isn’t he, Milan? Milan?
All kidding aside, in the pastor business, we spend a fair amount of time dealing with the dying and their vision of how the send-off should be, which includes more often than you might think, a list of who is and who is not, welcome to come.
One thing I’m pretty clear on at this point in my life: when I’m dead, the yardstick by which I measure such things will have changed pretty dramatically and what seems important to me now will not matter even a little bit then.
So when it comes to my own funeral, I too have a vision, but that’s all it is. And my whims are not to be given sway. When it comes to my own funeral, to those who will be in charge, do what you like. Don’t worry about me – I’ll be busy somewhere else.
And yes, Milan can come if he wants to.