The Eulogy for Charles Dierbach

11
Mar

As wisdom writer who penned the book of Ecclesiastes declared,  “For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven; at time to be born, and a time to die;… a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance.”

And it is true.  But it is also true that sometimes these times blend together, a time when tears are mixed together with laughter.  And perhaps this is such a time.   It is a time to give thanks for the life of a Charlie, a good man who has run his race well.  Charlie served his country well in Germany with the wrap up of World War II.  He was a loving, faithful husband of over 53 years of marriage to Flora, and a devoted father for his two sons, Richard and Mark, and Father-in-law to Lisa, and a proud grandfather for his two grandsons, Tommy and Conner.

He loved his extended family and his home state of New Jersey where he lived the great majority of his life, but he was willing to leave behind New Jersey for the joy of watching his two grandsons grow up.

He enjoyed his life with gusto with a big personality that filled up a room, and had fun to his end of his life competing and winning with fantasy football with his sons, and WII bowling and golf with his wife.

There is gratitude for a life well lived.  But there is also sadness that this good man is no longer here in the flesh to touch, to hear his voice.

In this life joy and sadness often come mixed up together.  And so what I would want to say to you is be gentle with yourselves, and know that whatever it is you are feeling in this fragile time is what you need to feel.  If you need this to be a time to weep, there is no shame in tears, for tears are, as someone said, the lubricant of the Holy Spirit.

But too often people miss the joy because they are too focused on the sadness, and we don’t want to that today.  And there is and abundance of joy present.

At times like this I often like to remember the words of the Apostle Paul spoken in 1 Corinthians 13 – the great love chapter – words more often heard at weddings than at memorial services.   Given Charlie and Flora’s 53 years of marriage it seems appropriate to remember what Paul says, and that is that without love, we are nothing.

We easily get led astray in the busyness of our lives, and we come to think that life is about other things than love.  But death has a way of bringing us back to this singular truth.

Love is the only thing that is eternal, everything else passes away.   To be patient and kind with one another; to forgo envy and arrogance to let go of resentments; this is what the nature of love.  And you don’t make it through 53 years of marriage without a love that endures.

 

Charlie had his rough edges, but there is no denying the fact that he loved you; his love was unmistakable.  And this love has not died.

 

The night before Jesus himself died, he told his friends, “In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places.” He said he was going there to prepare a place for us.   The doorway to this mansion is death.

 

We do not have words to adequately describe how beautiful the dimension that Charlie has entered into when he passed through that doorway.   The apostle Paul said that the suffering of this age, which can, at times, seem overwhelming, in no way compares to the glory that is to be revealed to us when pass through that doorway.

 

There is nothing but love there — everlasting, eternal love.  And Charlie’s love for you has not ended; it has only deepened. So he hasn’t left you orphaned either.  So don’t let your hearts be troubled.  A place is prepared for you as well.

 

None of us knows how much time we have left in this world.  It could be quite a while; it could be very little.  Either way, let us live savor the gift. As it says in Psalm 27,  let us live in the house of the Lord all the days of our lives, beholding the beauty of the Lord, remembering that the whole universe is God’s house, and his beauty is all about us.

 

It is especially present in those we have been given to love in this life.

 

Richard, Mark.