Greetings to all! This week I attended the funeral of another precious heart baby that went home early to be with our Heavenly Father. This is the second heart baby funeral I have been to since our precious Cate passed away. When I went to the first one in July I was still in a place of numbness and the reality of Cate’s death had not sunk fully into the depths of my heart and mind. This one was different, this one brought back a lot of memories of Cate’s funeral. Although I was at someone else’s child’s funeral it was though a movie was playing in my head of all the scenes from Cate’s funeral. From the rain on my face as we took her little casket out of the hurst, to the image of my three year old son without being asked taking his role as his little sisters escort as we walked her casket down the isle the church, the scene of the small wooden box that contained such a priceless treasure under the tent at the cemetery. It all was so vivid and so real, I did not go to this funeral to inflict unnecessary pain on myself I went because we have become friends with the parents through mutual friends about a year ago and then when they found out that they too were having a heart baby there was even more of connection. I just wanted them to know that we loved them and that with each other and with their God, they would make it, that they too would still be standing in the months to come.
They named their precious daughter Cana and so fittingly the gospel reading of the funeral mass was the wedding at Cana where Jesus performed His first miracle. Let me briefly summarize the story if you are not all to familiar with it. Jesus is at this wedding reception with his mom and the bride and groom run out of wine. This would be a huge embarrassment to the hosts if they ran out of wine to serve their guest, I am starting to wonder if the Jewish people and Cajuns aren’t second or third cousins to each other. Mary, being the good mother that she is cannot let this happen, so what does she do, tells her Son, Jesus, you better do something and do it quick, we can’t let this happen. Jesus says, Mom, it is not time yet for me to start doing things like this. Mary being the typical mom totally ignores him and tells the servants, to do whatever Jesus tells you to do. Jesus being the good son, listens to His mother’s request and tells the servants to fill six big jugs full of water. Then He tells them to take a cup to the head server for a little sampling. The head server is clueless to the events unfolding in the kitchen so when he tastes the wine that the server brings him he is a bit perplexed. This wine is far better than the stuff that they had just run out of so he goes to the groom and says, You know, normally people serve the choice wine first and then once people have been drinking a while, that’s when you serve a lesser vintage, but you have kept the good stuff till last. (John 2:1-11) Now this is my paraphrasing here, it is worded much more eloquently in the gospel of John but this is in a nutshell what happened.
Ali and I sat on our balcony one night last week talking and of course the conversation moved towards Cate and how we were feeling about her. The main thing that we both felt was that we were missing her. The shock and the pain have begun to subside although not gone completely of course. Lately it has been more the reality of she is really gone and she isn’t coming back and we miss her. I read on another parent’s blog that has lost a child about a meeting that her and her husband had with their pastor, who had also lost a child. The pastor talked about “the missing” and how it snuck up on him at times. As I reflected on this Gospel reading and sweet babies who go to heaven earlier than we anticipate, I got to thinking about those words, “the missing.”
What I came to realize is that with “the missing” comes “the longing.” You see this life is like the lesser vintage wine that was usually served first at wedding in Jesus’ time. It is good, there are things that we are truly going to enjoy in this life that will bring us great joy and happiness but there is a greater wine to be had. If you have had a taste of the greatest wine, i.e. heaven, then you long for that even more. The glimpses that I have had in my life of an intimate connection with God make me long for that greater wine even more. Its like when Ali and I go out to eat for a special occasion if they have it on the wine list we will get a bottle of La Crème, it’s a pinot noir that runs about thirty bucks a bottle and it is delicious, I strongly suggest you try some if you are a wine fan, but anyway. We have tasted great wines, but on an average night if we want a glass of wine we will pop the cork on just a five to seven dollar bottle of good wine. We enjoy it, but we have tasted better and that memory lingers in the back of you mind, man, if this were a glass of La Crème it would be even better, hence the longing.
We have always longed for heaven, for a day when we are in perfect relationship with God, there is no more sin, guilt, and shame, and we will be completely happy for all eternity. We long for that greater vintage wine. Well, now that the fruit of our love, Cate, has become a part of that finer wine and in my humble opinion making it all the sweeter, now we long for it even more. Our prayer is that we can still remember to enjoy the wine, i.e. the life, which we have now, with each other and with our kiddos. That we can accept the lesser wine knowing that there is a greater wine to come and that when we get there our precious Cate will be there waiting with a big smile and couple of glasses. Much Love, The Cantrells