I officiated this week at a funeral for Marie, who died in her early 70’s. I never met her, but loved hearing all the stories about her. She was a person who loved unconditionally, who was open-minded, and who had a young mind. Her son said she managed to think modern thoughts in every decade. Her welcoming spirit made it possible for their family rec room to be the hang out for her children and their friends as they were growing up. One of those family friends spoke briefly in tribute to this woman, and also offered a beautiful acapella version of the 1926 Irving Berlin song “Always”.
I heard this song in a whole new way. Berlin wrote it as a wedding gift for his wife, and it certainly works on that level, as a song of romantic love. “Always”, like many other ballads, can also be heard as God’s love song to us. (Especially the refrain!)
I’ll be loving you, always
With a love that’s true, always
When the things you’ve planned
Need a helping hand
I will understand
Days may not be fair, always
That’s when I’ll be there, always
Not for just an hour
Not for just a day
Not for just a year
Each of us needs to find a way to come to peace with the reality that for each of us, there is a time to live, and a time to die.
My beginning place is to remember that love is real, and that love comes from somewhere. My faith tells me that the love we need to live, and the love that brings depth of meaning, and joy to life, flows through us, but did not begin with us. Love comes from God, the source of all good things. Actually, I think that God is that love. The more we pay attention to the love in our lives, and the humbling reality that this love is bigger than us, the more possible it is to trust that love does not end when we die.
Here is what I believe. When we die, we go to be with God. God takes care of us. We go to the source of all the love that has made life possible in the first place. God’s love is “Always”.
The man who sang at the funeral is a Toronto-based musician named Denzal Sinclaire. I looked online for a Youtube of him singing the song.
Denzal has some gorgeous stuff out there, but not that one! I am including a link to a version sung by Katica Illenyi, a talented Hungarian performer.