Last week I presided at my uncle’s funeral in Houston. I prepared what one should say at a graveside memorial. I had the right litany, the right prayers, even the right words. As I stood up and witnessed a score of aunts, uncles, cousins and longtime family friends, I realized that what I prepared was not what was needed. I did not open my book but instead began to share how much this wonderful man meant to all of us. His absolute joy for life and compassion were second to none. I found myself offering a hymn of thanksgiving more than the prepared and careful words that I prepared.
One of the other blessings that came as a result of my trip was that I saw and met members of my family. Caeleb was with me and I introduced him to people that he did not know. I explained each person’s relationship to me and how they were related to him. I am sure that he forgot most of the names. The most important thing is that he discovered part of his own legacy.
My favorite part of the trip was taking my youngest son to some important places in his mom’s life and mine. Caeleb was only six months old when we moved to New Mexico, and he did not have the history in Houston that we shared. I wanted him to know what we meant when we referred to different places. I took him to the church where Caz and I were married a lifetime ago. I took him to see where his mom lived before we were married followed by several other important places. His favorite part was seeing the Gulf of Mexico. We just don’t have that much water in New Mexico.
There are moments when the world stops and you realize that your life is comprised of different places and events that help shape who you are. There are people that help shape us and shared the wisdom that enlightened our paths. To us, these amazing men and women helped direct us to sacred spaces, filled with the richness of your life. This trip was a reminder of my journey and how grateful I was that I got to share them with my son.
And as for my Uncle George, he was a man of integrity and was compassionate beyond belief. He was bawdy and could make you laugh at some of the most off colored statements known to man. With him, all were welcomed, no matter who they were. I consider myself blessed because I called him my uncle. May we all have an Uncle George to stand beside us and remind us that who we are is enough. Praise be to God for the amazing life of this man.