I sat between my mom and dad in the church pew today with no Kleenex and no inkling that I would find this event the least bit emotional. This was a 92 year old man who was preceded in death by his spouse, parents and three brothers. Truth be told, I was quite excited for him. As the pastor read a letter written by my Cousin Denise (Everette's daughter), I found myself tearing up uncontrollably. She told a story about her father and Uncle Tom laughing at my grandfather as he was screaming like a girl and trying to get a rat out of his overalls when they were boys. It was a sweet story and one about my grandfather I had never heard. That was when the tears began, and I had to admit to myself that this funeral made me sadder than I realized. I was not sad about death and the prospect of heaven to be sure.
I was profoundly sad that things continue to change. I was sad that the full appreciation we have from people and events seems to only come full circle via nostalgia. When recreating those times is no longer possible, we wish we had savored them more. Perhaps I was sad because with four patriarchal Webbs and their spouses now gone, I fully understand that the better Webb reunion is now in heaven.
In a time when families are getting smaller and smaller. When the distance between those families seems to be getting greater and greater. There is an undeniable bond that glues the many Webbs together in love and closeness. I am always amazed by this. In 33 years of being at reunions, weddings, church events and funerals - the Webbs never cease to amaze me with their incredible sense of family.
There seems to be one common thread that runs through each of them. Some might say its the twinkle in the signature blue eyes. Others might think it's their unmatched ability to remain lighthearted in an oftentimes dark world. I would even argue that the Webbs all have the same easy-going laugh. Ultimately, I think no one who has had the pleasure to meet these great people would argue that their commitment to the Lord and to their families remains their greatest strength.
Those traits help on days like today. Days when you are celebrating the home going of one of your own. Days when you wish you could go back for just a few hours and savor the times with those we thought would never grow old enough to leave us. Days when you can't help but to get excited as you, once again, glimpse heaven's possibilities.
As we waited to walk into my Uncle Everette's funeral in a family procession that has, in times past, out numbered the attendees, I watched a girl lean in to give her condolences to my cousin and introduce herself by saying proudly, "I'm a Webb too."
Well, I am also proud to be a part of this great family. I can hardly wait to get to heaven and ask my grandfather if he ever got the rat out of his overalls.
As I close this uncharacteristically sappy blog post, I would be remiss if I did not mention that the continuation of our Webb reunion is only possible by the grace of God and our acceptance of that great gift of eternal life. It is a spot that each of us must secure ourselves. It is a choice that is personal to make. I made the choice when I was young because I love God and I wanted to live a forgiven life. One of the many things that continues to excite me about heaven is the idea that our reunion, while dwindling in numbers on Earth...is getting larger and larger in the hereafter. I just hope the fried chicken is as good there as it is here.
A proud Webb