Thursday, September 6, 2012

Your loved ones....

Continuing the last part of my funeral homily from yesterday's funeral for Spc. Mabry Anders, here is again the ending with a poem that many people appreciated a lot. I heard a few sobs while I was reading it :
So as we are gathered here in this Cathedral filling every square inch possible, let us make a commitment to treasure each other’s presence even more, let us remember not to take each other for granted, and if tomorrow never comes, you’ll have no regrets about today! Remember and try to live the message of this prayer:

If I knew it would be the last time that I'd see you fall asleep, 
I would tuck you in more tightly and pray the Lord, your soul to keep.

If I knew it would be the last time that I see you walk out the door,
I would give you a hug and kiss you and call you back for one more.

If I knew it would be the last time I'd hear your voice lifted up in praise,
I would video tape each action and word, so I could play them back day after day.

If I knew it would be the last time that I see you, I could spare an extra minute or two
to stop and say "I love you," instead of assuming, you would KNOW I do.

For surely there's always tomorrow to make up for an oversight,
and we always get a second chance to make everything right.

There will always be another day to say our "I love you's",
And certainly there's another chance to say our "Anything I can do's?"

But just in case I might be wrong, and today is all I get,
I'd like to say how much I love you and I hope we never forget.

Tomorrow is not promised to anyone, young or old alike,
And today may be the last chance you get to hold your loved one tight.

So if you're waiting for tomorrow, why not do it today?
For if tomorrow never comes, you'll surely regret the day,

That you didn't take that extra time for a smile, a hug, or a kiss
and you were too busy to grant someone, what turned out to be their one last wish.

So hold your loved ones close today, whisper in their ear,
Tell them how much you love them and that you'll always hold them dear.

Take time to say "I'm sorry," "please forgive me," "thank you" or "it's okay".
And if tomorrow never comes, you'll have no regrets about today.

So squeeze that hand that is close to you right now – and it’s OK to say “I love you,” now that you still can. If there is any consolation by this celebration, it is that Mabry was able to bring this entire community together. When I saw that large crowd as I was coming from the airport Monday morning flanking the streets, I was so impressed and in a way surprised, and I said to myself “How did all these people found out about this moment?” I guess the answer is found in three phrases, social media, word of mouth, and the blessing of small town America.
So that Mabry’s death was not in vain, let us keep up this spirit of patriotism that keeps our nation, our state, our county and our town united, the spirit of prayer that his family is asking for today, and the spirit of love which we share today, the same kind of love that Mabry died for. Yes, there is certainly no greater love than this, to lay down one's life for one's friends. 2000 years ago, someone else died for us, being crucified on the cross. Today Mabry imitated his Master – making his ultimate sacrifice.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you Fr Julian for sharing with us, your readers, this poignant tribute to An American Soldier, Mabry Anders. He was a son, a grandson, a friend, a love to those directly involved in his growing years from that of an infant to an adult willing to take on the role of soldier. I did not know him but he has become alive to me because of the supporting hearts in Baker City and because of you, as a "shepherd of solace", in a most difficult and trying time of life for his family and community.