Thoughts from a Funeral

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I lift up my eyes to the hills.  From where does my help come?  My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth.  He will not let your foot be moved; he who keeps you will not slumber.  Behold, he who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.  The LORD is your keeper; the LORD is your shade on your right hand.  The sun shall not strike you by day, nor the moon by night.  The LORD will keep you from all evil;  he will keep your life.  The LORD will keep your going out and your coming in from this time forth and forevermore.
Psalm 121 – ESV


I’ll start it off with a lighthearted one:  I’m glad I didn’t put on any mascara this morning.  I don’t wear waterproof, so it would have not been pretty.

Curtis Crutchfield was a man, 65 years of life, husband, dad, grandfather, friend.  One of my favorite memories with Curtis was traveling halfway around the world to Thailand to serve missionaries there.  Loved seeing how he just loved on those m-kids, prayed incessantly while we were there.  Also, I knew every morning, and sometimes many times during the day, I would get an email from “Putterbud” which was his email address – sending out prayer requests from those at The Summit Church.  While I was at that church for 3.5 years, and even after I moved from Durham to Louisville, and now back to Raleigh, I knew I could send him prayer requests and he would be praying.  As I look back over the emails I have sent him over the years: he has prayed for the salvation of my friends and family, churches I attended in Louisville, a professor at SBTS that I worked for during my time there, he prayed that I would move back to this area (because I asked him to), he prayed for my Mom when she was having medical tests done, he prayed for my brother while he was in Africa with malaria.  I only may know personally of one other person in my life who prays as much or as diligently as Curtis did.  Curtis: Thank you.

I told a friend on the phone after the service that I wish I had been able to live blog it because you would have gotten so many more thoughts (maybe you are glad I didn’t): but I just want to share some with you.

1.  If I die before these three people: make sure the first two play/sing at my funeral and the third one gives the sermon: Chris and Michelle Gaynor and Danny Franks. 

2.  I love the humility and service of Brad and Danny and Chris.  Even in little ways today, I saw these three men of God humbly serving and loving.  Exactly who they are – for the glory of Christ.

3.  A Shadow of a Greater Reality.  This is what Curtis was.  Since he was saved by the grace of God through the cross of Jesus – he lived humbly and faithful and boldly to proclaim His Great God.  That was so clearly evident in this service today: not focusing on a good man (which Curtis is probably the best 65 year old I know), but a good man’s Great God.

4.  “And the joy we share as we tarry there.” – This line stood out to me for a couple of reasons: 1.  I want to know that deep seeded daily joy.  Things in my life have to change.  As a dear sweet friend said to me after the service: “You are going to slow down one of these days.”  My response to her: maybe I will, maybe I will.  Thank you BD for that word of exhortation.  2.  I want my life of tarry here on this earth to be full of joy.  I want to surround my life with things and people that make me smile.  I don’t want to fill my hours with meaningless things.  John 10:10.

5.  The Psalm on the inside of the program was Psalm 121 (read above).  Turned out this was the last daily devotion that Curtis had.  What a glorious truth – not even knowing that this would be the last thing he read in Scripture – but just a stunning portrait of the the beautiful faithfulness of the Word of God in that man’s life.

6.  Always at funerals it makes you stop and think about what is important in life.  And, yes, I thought about some of those things too.  There are only 2 things that I really still want to do in life: praying that God in his goodness would supply in His perfect timing.  For me not to live discontented – but faithful.

7.  The last song that Michelle sang by herself was “It Is Well” – hands down my favorite “old-school” hymn that there is.  “oh the bliss of this glorious thought, my sin not in part but the whole, was nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more, praise the Lord, praise the Lord, oh my soul!”  And Curtis didn’t get to experience the trump resounding and the Lord descending…but instead, he closed his eyes here on earth (at his grandson’s bball practice) and opened them to see the Great High Priest welcoming him home.

8.  I thought I was done crying, but no.  The pall bearers carried Curtis out and following him was the family: Miss Kathy and Andy and the rest.  Thinking that pretty soon, they would lay Curtis in the ground, and even though Miss Kathy had said her goodbyes, and tears would continue, and rejoicing was happening in their hearts because of the glorious truth of the Gospel: I couldn’t even imagine the pain that she was experiencing that the man she had cherished all these years was not coming back.  He wasn’t on a mission trip, he wasn’t out playing golf, he wasn’t up at Cole Mill Road setting up for a service: no.  He was gone.  And while she will see him again because of their mutual faith in the Gospel – she will live the remainder of her days here on earth by herself, without the love of her life.  And I saw many couples in the church today: I’m reminded of the beauty and grace of marriage.  Not ones that I’ve read in books or theology of marriage, but the glorious truth, patience, hard-work, grace-abounding, marriage. 

9.  Curtis was also one of the most humble men I knew.  He was quiet, meek, a servant, not caring what the task was, he served joyfully.  I got to serve on the First Impressions team with him while I was at the Summit.  I remember the many Sunday lunches in the Riverside High School cafeteria.  He had much more a servant’s heart than I did.  He never wanted to be recognized for anything, he would point all the praise to Jesus anyway.  May I seek that humility and servant’s heart and meekness, that the qualities of my life would also point others to Jesus.  Thank  you Curtis for loving Jesus – because He first loved you.

I could probably think of many more thoughts that ran through my mind during the hour long service, but I’ll leave you with this.  My first tears shed well before the service started as I read this verse on the back of the program:

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that Day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing.

2 Timothy 4:7-8

Curtis: I look forward to seeing you worshipping your Great God when I get there.  Then I can join you again in worshipping our Jesus!

5 Responses

  1. Danny

    Great post, Kim. Great man. Great God!

    Reading through this I’m reminded of even more areas where Curtis served. He was just always … simply … “there.”