This is the text of the things I said at my dad’s funeral on November 23rd. I’m putting it here for safe keeping.
God looks out for the Shearers
My dad told me that several different times in my life. None of them were connected. When he said it to me the first time I was a teenager and I have no idea what I had done or what was happening but I do remember that he hugged me and then said don’t worry, God looks out for the Shearers. I kind of laughed because I thought he was just trying to say something to make me feel better.
The next time he said it I was newly a single mother. I was very worried and a little afraid of how I was going to take care of my girls and myself. In a quiet moment when we were alone Dad said, “Don’t worry, God looks out for the Shearers.” That second time I didn’t laugh or smile because I knew then that he believed it.
There were several more times after that when things felt hard or I was sad that dad repeated that little sentence to me and it always made me feel better because I was reminded of all of the hard things that had happened and we were all still ok.
We are here on this earth to learn and to grow and become the best we can be and none of that would happen without the hard things in our lives that stretch us and sometimes press down on us. This last week I have been thinking about the difficulty of the last 5 years with dad’s cancer diagnosis and losing Tammy, but I remembered so many good times and happy things and how we became just a little bit closer as a family. There are blessings in the hard stuff and I really did feel like God was looking out for us through it all. Sometimes it was hard to see that in the midst of it but looking back I can see it. It can feel weird to say when you lose someone that God is looking out for you but I have an image of Heaven that is safe and lovely for everyone and so I believe it is really true for every single one of us whichever side of Heaven we are currently on.
Just a little side note. When dad was telling me that God looks out for the Shearers, I took that to heart and I also took it very literally. I want to tell you, though, that since those first times that dad told me that, I have learned that God looks out for each one of us whether you are part of the Shearer family or not. So feel free to add your own name into that little sentence and it will be equally as true for you. Luckily it’s easy for me to imagine a Father in Heaven that is looking out for us because I had an earthly Father who did that for me for a very long time.
There were a couple more things I was thinking about this week. The first is how my mom was always the one for dad. She was his darlin’. He loved her more than anything else in the world and we all knew it. We knew it when we were little kids and nothing ever changed about that. Who knew that a 56 year marriage could be built on just a few months of dating. I also know that the 4 of us kids came a close second to mom. I am pretty sure mom didn’t often take him along to do any kind of shopping for us because he loved to say “just get them both” if we were having a hard time deciding what we wanted. As each of us got married and added more people to the group he welcomed them all as if they had always been part of the family.
My dad did like to travel especially to Hawaii and on cruise ships but when we were kids he seemed to prefer home. I remember our yearly trips to Dorney Park when I felt like the car didn’t have a gas pedal when we were on the way to Allentown. I’m pretty sure it would have been illegal if the car went any slower on the way there. It was like something shifted on the way home because we were in the same car but it felt like the brake pedal was broken.
Now, this week it seems appropriate to talk about what things I am thankful for. I am thankful for my dad and the things he taught me like honesty and integrity and generosity. I am thankful for the family that he built along with my mom. The way we interact and get along with each other are evidence of the good examples of two people who value family. I am thankful for my darling and my kids and their support right now and that I have been able to be here these last few weeks which have been hard and terrible but also amazing and wonderful all at the same time. I’m grateful that we can all be together today to think about and talk about my dad, that we have so many great memories to share with each other. And I’m grateful for my faith in God that brings me comfort and assurance that all of us will be together again someday.