Funerals are very queer things. Not queer as in gay, but queer as in the original meaning of the word - strange, odd. Of course, maybe it was just the Mormon spin on the funeral. Full belief in an afterlife and a good understanding of what it is makes a funeral very tolerable. In fact, it's nice enough that we all have a big luncheon and talk and laugh after the graveside service.
It is pretty awesome to know what happens after this life - what limited knowledge we do have. It makes it less painful to say goodbye to someone you love, secure in the knowledge that you will see them again. And when you do see them again, they will be healthy and happy.
Less painful, not painless. It was still difficult to see my grandpa lying in that casket. He was a good man. A grumpy man, but a good man. He taught me a lot while I was growing up. In fact, he was one of the biggest influencing factors behind my desire to get into physics (and subsequently engineering) when I went to college.
The funeral was beautiful, well attended, and full of embellishments. I truly do love my grandpa and the great influence he was on me, but it was kind of weird to sit there and listen to people eulogize him in a way that would have granted him sainthood if he'd been Catholic. But I guess that's how it is. When someone leaves you, you are more inclined to remember only the good things about them.
The Sunday before the funeral I had a talk with my bishop. I talked to him about my relationship with John and how I had had such a hard time getting through that. I told him how I felt so lonely that at times it was unbearable and I would still find myself fantasizing about a life with John, and actually considering it is a real option. I talked with him about how I just didn't know if I could take it much longer. There was a lot of anger, self-loathing and tears in that conversation.
My bishop sat there looking at me for a moment, then sat back in his chair and for the first time understood how I felt. The Spirit granted him that understanding. It was amazing. He sat across the table from me and talked about the love of our Savior and the Atonement. He asked me if I had come out to my parents and how they felt about it. I told them that they still loved me and said they would no matter what. He replied, "Max, that is exactly how God feels about all of us. No matter if we choose to follow Him or not, He still loves us. We are His children in spite of the choices we make and He loves us. He may not love our choices, but He loves us."
We talked about how I had a big decision in front of me that I needed to make. I needed to decide which lifestyle I was going to choose. Was I going to give in to the pain of loneliness I feel on the inside, or was I going to continue climbing the mountain?
Once again, I had received counsel that I already knew - I needed to commit to the Lord. I knew which decision I needed to make, but I didn't have the desire to. I prayed for the desire to make the decision that I knew I should make.
On Friday at the funeral I had an amazing spiritual experience that gave me the desire I had prayed for. It reaffirmed to me the commitment that I have been following for so long now. The commitment to be obedient to the Lord and what he has revealed through His prophet. Not to my own thoughts, understanding or desires.
And yes, we did have funeral potatoes for lunch that day.