On the surface, the last two weekends were very similar. Both involved a two hour drive, hotel stay, and time with friends. Both had worship, lots of food and lots of memories
But they could not have been more different.
Two weekends ago we went to a wonderful wedding for an amazing young couple. We celebrated their marriage with them, remembered their childhoods and looked forward to their new life together. Last weekend was the opposite. We went to a funeral for a friend’s mom. Stories were shared, tears were cried, and we looked forward to the new life to come. The first was happy with the usual bit of nostalgia. The second was sadness interspersed with joyful remembering. They were the exact opposite.
Yet they looked so similar.
I must admit that it’s been hard to get my brain around. To be at two events so close together that looked so much alike but were so completely different…well, it’s discombobulating. The song Another Rainy Night by eighties metal band Queensryche has a great line: “Strange how laughter looks like crying with no sound. Raindrops taste like tears without pain.” I’ve always suspected that they lifted that line from somewhere, but it really sums it up. Laughter, sadness, funerals, weddings, they really do look a lot alike. Yet they are so completely, wildly different. God was also present in both of them, but it was also in spectacularly different ways. It’s stunning.
I guess life is like that, though. How things look on the surface is not usually how they really are. The important stuff isn’t in the scenery. It’s not in the decorations or the clothes. The important stuff is in the details. It’s not what we’re doing, how we’re dressed or where we’re doing it that matters so much. What matters more is why. It’s not the worships or the hotels or the presence of friends that made those weekends so different. It was the “why”- the reason we were there. In one case a wedding, the other a funeral. That’s what mattered.
“Why,” it turns out, means everything.