My last post was about a funeral for a man I never met. His name was Al and he was the brother of a friend of mine. When I wrote my last post I hadn't lost my brother yet and the funeral was still someone else's reality.
My brother died on Tuesday and now the funeral is my reality. I sang last week for Al. I don't know if I'll sing next week for Joe.
He died in Alaska. I hadn't seen him in years. He was my parents oldest son. He worked on fishing boats and was found in the water on Tuesday morning. He had been sick, the captain pulled him out of the water and attempted CPR, but he was already gone.
I do believe in Jesus, in the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body and the life everlasting. I do know that Joe is in heaven now.
I can tell you lots of things. I want to write lots of things, but the thing I have to write is that Joe was hard to love. He was a very troubled person for most of his life. He was tormented by demons and illness and the past. Peace was something that eluded him.
He was hard to love for many of us, but he was never hard to love for Jesus. Jesus never thought he was hard to love. Jesus never got fed up with him, he never stopped listening to his prayers, he never stopped offering forgiveness. Joe wasn't able to do what many of us do. He wasn't able to make it look like he had life under control. He wasn't able to make it look like he didn't need someone to save him. He needed the mercy of Jesus and so do I.
And Jesus gave him an eternity of heaven. Jesus took all those troubles and torments from Joe and made him brand new. He's brand new and free from all the stuff that wouldn't let him go in this life. When I see him again it's going to be a joyful reunion with my brother without any of that stuff that made love so hard while we were here.
So in these days after Joe's death I think about how I had more love to give him, but I chose not to. Love isn't something that just runs out. It's not finite. I can love more even if people around me think I'm being foolish or naive. Who fucking cares? How many people get to their last days and reflect that they loved too much and that they should've been more distant with their hearts?
Mary Gauthier has a song called, "Mercy Now." I think Mary is working for Jesus even if she doesn't know it. Mercy is one of those things we think is meant for people worse off than we are. Sometimes we think we've graduated from mercy because we're doing OK. We've got a house, food, gas in the car, a job that pays (kinda). But none of us graduate from mercy. I hope I never think I do. I hope I seek it and offer it to my neighbor. I hope I boast in the love Jesus has for me because I am hard to love too. Just like my brother.