Thursday, February 09, 2006

So, How Was the Service?

No, I didn't join "the service".

The service for my aunt Lois was on Saturday the 28th of January. I had to be back in town that evening for a gathering in honor of me (scheduled by me... so it wasn't like I was getting an award or anything), so unfortunately I had to leave before I could get lots of feedback on the service from family members, but I got enough to learn it was fairly unanimously negative.

Keeping in mind that I hated Mom's service, I guess this did serve the purpose of making me think maybe it wasn't so bad.

Instead of lunch afterwards, we had lunch beforehand in the church basement. My aunt's brother-in-law said a prayer, and it was filled with lots of "Jesus, our personal lord and savior"'s, so once I learned he was the officiant--or whatever--I braced myself for an unbearable time. But, my aunt Rachel was there, and I would put up a good show of accepting it and moving on.

There was a bit of a visitation at 1:00, although we got up there at 1:15 or so. My cousin David had put together a video of his mom with pictures and stuff, and that was showing.

This was the same church as where Mom's service was, by the way, but with a different officiant. A guest speaker, as it were, would be officiating this show.

The service started and this guy begins by talking about knowing Lois when she was in high school, and talking about double-dating with his brother. He went on to talk about her life.

I thought it was... well, at the time I thought it was questionable judgment--and I don't know what I think now--when he sorta glossed over my aunts first marriage (by "glossed over", I mean "never mentioned it"), even though the daughter and granddaughters and great-grand-children from said marriage were present. But still, he shared a lot about her life, and then asked for people for memories of Lois.

I thought, "Wow! This is exactly what we wanted for Mom's service! This is going to be a pretty good deal."

Then, after three or four people shared stories from the pews, he said something along the lines of (maybe even these exact words), "Well, that's enough of that."

He then proceeded to explain that he knew Lois had heard the gospel, and he hopes she accepted Jesus as her PL&S (I'm already tired of typing the full thing out), because that is the only way she could have gotten into heaven. Once you die, he explained, there's no changing it. We have no way of knowing, he kept explaining, where Lois is.

I don't know about you, but what I want to hear most at a memorial service is, "Maybe she's in HELL."

Well, my first thought was, "I'm standing up and leaving. I don't remember Lois EVER mentioning Jesus, unless she hurt herself, and then I don't think she was speaking theologically."

But my aunt Rachel was directly behind me, and I didn't want to make her angry, or upset. Also, I wasn't sure how Rusty/Say/Lynne, who was sitting next to me, would feel about me doing that. So I sat and listened.

He went on to inform us that we were all sinners and evil, etc., and that if we didn't know Jesus, we could do no good. If we didn't know Jesus, the only reason we would try to do good is so that other people would look at us and say, "Look how good they are!" This differs from doing good so that Jesus, God, Santa, and Francine the Lucky Fish would look down from up on high (or from undersea, in the case of Francine) and say (or gurgle), "Look how good they are" in some way, I presume... I'm just not sure what.

Also, I don't think that's the only reason non-doin'-it-for-Jesus types do good. In fact, I think there are entire nations of people who would agree with me on this point.

Anyway, he railed on for what seemed like hours. At times he begged and asked what he could do to get whoever among us was not saved to cross over to the dark side, or whatever. My cousin Linda, my cousin Bryce, and I all had the same thought, I learned afterwards: Well, if you shut the *#@&! up, it would be a great start.

I guess it was closer to twenty minutes or so later that he finally remembered why we were there, and once again reminded us that, while he hoped Lois was in heaven, the jury was still out on that, and if that doesn't make you afeard enough to love Jesus and vote Republican, I guess he doesn't know what will.

Eddie was probably happy with the service, however, because they only had two songs, both being organ pieces with no singing, and thus nobody felt the need to cry.

Apparently my aunt Rachel wasn't happy, and might have even got up to leave with me, had I opted to go that route. I didn't hear this from her, so I could be misinformed there.

I still don't know how Mike, David, and Toni felt about it. I'm fairly sure Toni wasn't thrilled, but I don't know. I kept thinking during the service that maybe they wanted this sort of service. I mean, it's within the realm of possibility that this part of the family that I grew up less than two miles from had this whole super-religious secret life that I never saw or heard about. Then again, it's also within the realm of possibility that everyone but me is a robot, and aliens are testing me for some reason. Possibility is funny that way. And either story seems just about as likely to me--meaning to imply more about what I'm fairly sure the Cottrell's are like and less about my sanity.

Anyway, I spent a little time discussing it with my cousins, siblings, and niece, and I said words in a church that I can't believe I said--in case you haven't sussed it out, I was a bit angry after that service--but then I had to take off for K.C., so that I'd make it to my gathering on time. Which I did.

So, does anyone have comments about this service? Anyone want to theorize why I now seem to have this free-floating anger in me that doesn't know what to lash out about? Discuss amongst yourselves. I'll just listen in.


Andy B. said...

Dear Everyone Who Reads Mark's Blog,
Cheese it! He's onto us about the whole robot alien testing him thing. Switch to plan Bravo - repeat Bravo!

No seriously, man, that has to be the shittiest funeral story I have ever read and that preacher has got it wrong and I lament for his lost soul which, postmortem status notwithstanding, is presently doing such damage to God's people in this world that he ought to be burning somewhere and if that is an eternal lake of fire so be it!
With Love,
Andy B.

EyeRytStuf said...

Well, the good news is, I didn't take him very seriously, and I don't know that many other people did, either.

But it was flippin' insane.

My cousin Bryce thoght maybe he got certified to preach by drawing that turtle off that add in TV Guide or wherever.

Peggy Wooden said...

Right. Bravo.

Having recently lost two of my dearest friends (my dad and my friend, Donna), and being with them at the moment of their deaths, I feel that funerals for the most part are horrible. Neither Daddy nor Donna had a funeral. I made it clear to Daddy's Hospice people that he was an agnostic and was perfectly content with that--even a little eager to find out what lies beyond this life. Donna, too, I think. If someone had been shoving the Heaven and Hell stuff down my throat--or theirs--, I would have had a hard time chewing that.

Then, again, funerals are for the living, not the dear departed. So, I think everyone should grieve, mourn, or celebrate in his/her own way, and not try to proselytize. Pretty much the way I feel about religion in general.

Vieta said...

Mark don't let those hellfire people get you down, they surely are busy spreading the unlove, it must make them feel holy. Wonder if they ever laugh?

I have been to 4 fun-erals in my life and have given everyone permission to skip what ever they have for me. How's about a festival? That would be nice. Make it a happy time.

Anywho keep on bloggin, I enjoy reading it. Here's a hug for you. ((M))

Anonymous said...

No, Eddie wasn't happy! He was pissed actually. The "minister" didn't want any songs to be truthful, but the kids did, and the "minister" informed me he didn't want them very long. I was mortified at the whole deal, and when I found out this "minister" was subbing for our regular minister at a regular church service, I turned around and walked out of the church, as did a few others; all before the service even started. I WILL NEVER AGAIN GO THRU THAT HORRIBLE EXPERIENCE WITH THAT HORRIBLE MAN!