I celebrated a funeral this morning.
When I went to the funeral home yesterday to do the wake service, I had a chance to meet the family. That is the time that I usually find out things about the deceased so that I can craft my funeral homily.
Yesterday was out-of-the-ordinary for me.
You see, it reminded me of my "old" life.
When I was in high school, I was really big into band. I loved music (I still do) and played in the high school band, in the pit orchestra for musicals, in the marching band at football games, in the pep band for basketball games. Any opportunity to play was enthusiastically accepted.
I also competed.
Each year, I went down state to play in the solo and ensemble contest. I would play a solo each year and most years was also a part of a trio or quartet.
My principal instrument, by the way, was the clarinet.
When I first began to learn how to play, and when my parents saw how much I enjoyed doing so, my parents hooked me up with a tutor for private lessons.
The series that I used to begin playing was the Rubank series by Nilo W. Hovey. It was a good, solid series that was used for many years. As a matter of fact, it is still around.
Enough of the background.
Yesterday, at the wake, I found out that the person I was to bury was a student of Nilo W. Hovey. She, in turn, became a music teacher, teaching the clarinet to many children, including her sons.
Her sons, and their children, are still into music today as well.
It takes a lot of love and discipline to play music. It is something that requires deep feeling and commitment. And you could see the product of that love and commitment in her children as they spoke of her.
What we do in this life can have a lasting effect upon others.
Not only can it have a lasting effect; if we do our job right, it will have a lasting effect.
It felt good to meet this family and to get to know what their mother did. The beautiful thing about it was that she did not just transmit knowledge and competence in terms of music, but she shared with them her deep faith in and love of God. While the number of people was small at the funeral Mass as they are from out of town and a small family, they participated in the Mass more fully than I have seen in a long time.
Their mother did her job well. As a musician and as a committed Catholic, she gave her children a great gift.
Well done, Lucy.
I hope that God will be able to say those two words -- well done -- to each of us when He calls us to Himself!