Wow, what a day. We were both able to get some time off today to attend Tony's funeral. Thanks to our wonderful and gracious bosses! What an absolutely amazing time. I have never been to a funeral like that one before. It started off a little slow and somber but picked up pace throughout and by the end we were standing, clapping, and rejoicing that Tony had beat us all into heaven. It was such a neat time of rememberance, laughter, tears, and singing/worshiping. Jesus Christ was glorified and honored today. We have lost a very dear friend, but what a joy it is to know that he's in heaven with his Savior and finally truly HOME.
The processional was a lot less organized than what I was used to though, and for those who know me, I lose my patience pretty easily with unorganized events. I kept telling myself to remain calm and not jump out of the vehicle to organize everyone. It was hard!! I've never driven by myself in a funeral procession before... it was nerve-wracking and very stressful. And of course it was on expressways in Chicago traffic. I grew up in the country, where everyone pulls over and stops to let a procession go by. NOT the case here for sure!!! I nearly witnessed a few accidents where people didn't understand where to go and started getting in the wrong lanes and just making a mess of things. That was a nail biter.
I'm glad it's over and the day is winding down. Tony is at peace now. We miss him so much (as I say this, yes the tears are clouding my eyes), but we rest assured knowing we'll see him again someday. We don't know when it'll happen or how, but we hope to keep our heads held high just like Tony... whose favorite sayings were "This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it!" and "I GOT JESUS!!" :)
I got an email this morning before we left from another good friend who told me she went into labor Thursday morning and delivered early Friday morning. When Tony was slowing saying goodbye to this world, my friend's baby was saying hello to this world. What a sweet reminder of God's sovereignty and the cycle of life. When Tony was pronounced dead, a baby announced its birth. Literally they were nearly done at about the same time early (like 1/1:30 am) Friday morning January 11th. How sweet and precious to get that reminder... while we shed tears of sorrow, we also shed tears of joy.
Goodbye sweet, joyful Tony. You will be sorely missed here on earth, but we know you are having a party in heaven now and we cannot wait to join you. And sweet little Madeleine, we cannot wait to meet you and see you grow up into a wonderful woman of God.
'Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus.