Then and Now — Funeral for Fabian “John” Wingert, 80

John did not know when the day would come, but he knew it was coming, and so he was proactive in making preparations. It was 1952, and our country was at war on the Korean peninsula. John knew that his army draft number was low and that he going to be called up for service any day. John was proactive, and he heeded the advice of his father, who said, “Join the navy. It’s better to have a bed than to sleep on the ground.” John enlisted in the navy two days before his army draft number came up.

Later, when it came time for him to ship out, John took the initiative again. John had met Beverly two years before. He would later say they met at a dance in Rozellville. She insists that it happened earlier at an ice rink. But in the week before he was to ship out they were in perfect agreement about what they wanted to do. They were wedded in Los Angeles at St. Michael’s Catholic Church, beginning 57 years of marriage. They enjoyed the sweetness of their too short honeymoon together, and then he left, as he had been called to do by higher-ups.

Beverly tells me that this time without him was lonely, and that she would worry about him, too. They wrote to each other every day, though the mysterious mechanisms of the mail service made the letters arrive in clumps. Finally, John came home, and he and Beverly began raising children and living happily, together.

Today we gather to mourn and pray for John, who suffered his last days’ passion in Christ’s likeness, and whom we trust will be raised up in Christ’s likeness. John has been called up for service by the Higher-Ups of heaven.

There’s a sadness in this separation, but there is no need for fear. It is you who sit here who remain in the war, while John is heading home. We need not fear for him, for unlike the mail, he cannot be lost now, but we pray for him while experiences the mysterious mechanisms that perfect souls until they reach their final address.

And if you have anything you wish you could tell him, you can, for like our connection to the love of Christ, nothing can separate our spiritual connection with John in Christ.  If you would like to talk to him, just pray. You might even sense him speaking back.

This life has the happiness and incompleteness of a too short honeymoon. But if we proactively respond to God’s grace, in not too long, we will all be joyfully reunited. And we will live happily, together, forever.

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