Last Saturday, I went to the funeral for my husband’s friend, Dan, who sadly passed away last week at only 25 years old. Dan and John went to the same small, private, Christian school during middle and early high school. I never had the chance to meet Dan, but John and a lot of our friends were close with him.
I’ve been to quite a few funerals, but until Saturday, I had never been to one for someone my own age. Many friends from John’s high school were there and “Time of Your Life,” by Green Day was playing in the background. Dan’s funeral had a very specific kind of sadness about it because he passed away so young.
After the eulogy, they left a microphone open at the front so that anyone who wanted to say something about Dan could say it publically. People spoke of someone who loved to make other people laugh and who was kind and friendly to everyone he met. Many of his friends went up to speak and what they said reminded me of a few important things, so I wanted to share some of my thoughts:
1.) More people care about you than you probably realize
I remember one of the friends who went up to speak said something about how Dan might have been surprised at the amount of people who were there. There were so many people at the funeral that they had to bring in extra benches because all of the pews were full. Sometimes we might become blinded to the amount of people who care about us, especially if we’re going through a tough time. But just know that there are people who care about you (even if you can’t always see it) and not only that, but you will meet awesome people in the future too.
2.) Take the time to talk to people you don’t know
Dan was known as being someone who was friendly to everyone. My husband started going to the private school in 6th grade. When John first started, he didn’t know anyone there. Dan was one of John’s first friends at the school and definitely made John’s transition to a new environment easier.
Many of Dan’s other friends had similar stories. One friend said that when he was a kid, his parents used to drop him off at the skate park. He said that he was really shy and unconfident about talking to people, but that Dan just walked up to him there one day and befriended him. He said that Dan’s friendliness helped him to become more confident, which is something that impacted his life in a major way.
So the next time that you’re at some event and you see someone standing alone while everyone else is talking, go up and say something to them. You never know what kind of positive impact it could have on their life. I’ve always tried to go up and talk to the people who looked like they didn’t know anyone or weren’t being included. Sometimes, I’ve been nervous before I’ve gone up to someone. I’ve thought to myself, “What if they’re rude to me or don’t want to talk to anyone? What if it’s awkward?” The truth is, there have been times when I’ve gone out of my way to talk to someone and they’ve been rude to me. But, the vast majority of the time, people are happy to have someone be friendly to them, so I try to push past that fear because I think the potential gain is worth the risk.
People love to feel included and a little bit of friendliness can go a long way. You may think that your interactions with others aren’t that big of a deal, but you have the power to truly make a difference in someone’s life.
3.) Relationships are what matter
When friends went up and spoke about Dan, they talked about what their relationship with him was like. They also talked about the fact that he was a Christian who had a relationship with God. As Christians, those really are the most important things. It’s so easy to get caught up in all of the superficial things of the world, but we have to remember what really matters in life: relationships.
Those are the things that I was thinking about as I left the funeral, so I wanted to share. Today, I’m grateful for the people I have in my life and the people who have been my friends over the years.
[I’m linking this post up with the Grateful Heart Monday Linkup on the Ember Grey Blog.]