I started to think about chairs. Yes I know you are wondering to yourself, “chairs?” “Really?” Let me explain this a bit further. Please keep reading it will all make perfect sense soon. I was recently sitting in a funeral home with my husband and many family members of his extended family. Tears and sobs and “whys,” that is what was on everyone’s mind. You see my husbands’ family lost someone very young, and full of life, and good, and no one could wrap their heads around the “why?” As we walked around, consoling as we went. Hugs and tears overflowed. There were not enough chairs to hold everyone that this young man’s life had touched. You see I only met him a few weeks prior at a family birthday party, but even with just the small interactions I had I could feel some small understanding of the pain everyone was feeling.
The service was starting to begin and as people piled into the funeral home it was, “standing room only” at this point. People were lined up around the block for this young man. My husband and I sat in the last remaining chairs. We bowed our heads when the preacher prayed. When he started to speak about this man’s’ life, all the love, color and generosity he gave to others, about his selflessness. The crying in the room turned to sobs. I bowed my head for a moment and when I looked up my gaze fell to the chair in front of me. It looked old, and sturdy and a little worn. As the preacher preached on about how Jesus mourned for Lazarus’ death I kept thinking about the life these chairs have felt. The pain and grief they have held through the years. If only they could talk.
Chairs, these chairs, which have held a multitude of people over the years as they wept over their loved ones, chuckled through the sobs as family members and friends say their last good -byes and tell stories of important life events and even the ones that don’t seem important to some but created an impact regardless. These chairs hold steadfast. They have to. Because when a person is full of heartache, loss, pain and resentment they feel as though they are lost and have no will to be able to comprehend the agony they are enduring. These chairs at the time are like a crutch or a steadfast friend who won’t let you fall while you grieve. The loss, the tears, heartache, the memories; if these chairs could talk they would be able to tell so many stories of so many people, their families, their happy lives, their sorrows and their pain.
The preacher encouraged everyone who was hurting to talk to each other, share the stories and memories that made up the person that everyone loved and mourned that day. It was a reminder that in life we are given chances to impact those around us, to love them, share our life so that theirs might be touched by it and continue to love others long after we have gone. To continue the cycle of love, to show others that everyone is important and everyone; even if they don’t realize it at the time, everyone serves a purpose to build up and create memories for others so that the cycle of love, appreciation, and loss are all part of life and to celebrate life through the many memories created. But, when it comes time to say good-bye not to worry, because our strength is just being tested and we are not forgotten, the people that cared won’t let their memories fade. Loss hurts and grief is temporary all though it might feel eternal. Love is forever, and those chairs the stories and memories they could share, if only they could talk.