Allison’s visitation was on Friday. Many visitors filed past pictures of her and a student-made banner with her own senior quote, and expressed their condolences to her family and did their best to comfort one another. Afterwards some of us went to her favorite bar, where a framed picture sat on a countertop, flanked by two candles and her favorite drink, and we toasted her memory.
The funeral service was on Saturday. There was a half-hour slideshow of photos of her with her family and friends at various stages in her life. There were hymns, songs, prayers, readings, solos, and three very touching speeches of remembrance. I think she would have appreciated all of it.
I was bothered by part of the pastor’s message. At one point the pastor said that he hated to hear people say, in response to the sudden death of a relatively young person, that God needed another angel, and needed her more than we did. He hated to hear that because only a mean God would do that, and that’s not the God he wanted to serve.
I fail to see why such a motivation would make God “mean.” Maybe I’m missing something. But if you assume the existence of God (as pastors normally do), you’re talking about someone Whose judgement and wisdom are infinitely greater than yours. It’s part of the job description. If He “needs” (since that’s the term we’re using here) an angel, if He needs something or someone more than you do, it seems that you must trust His judgement. You can mourn, and you can grieve, and you can seek comfort and solace, but you must trust His judgement. If that’s mean, it’s no more mean than a parent making a child eat dinner before dessert or brush his teeth or get vaccinated against measles. It’s mean only in an infantile, totally undiscerning sense.
I don’t claim to know what larger purpose Allison’s death serves. But if you believe in the omnipotent, omniscient, benevolent God of the Good Book, you’ve got no business judging His motives. She now serves a purpose far greater than any we could muster. If you’re a praying person, then pray you’ll do the same.
If I have committed any heresy here, I apologize. Eve made me do it.