Funeral gives chance to remember

By Debra Whittington

“We know that we have passed from death until life, because we love the brethren…”

1 John 3:14

Funerals are known for being somber, tearful events where the departed loved-one’s life is remembered. How wonderful it is when the tears are replaced with laughter as stories are shared. That was the case at the funeral for Shine McFarland last week.

Several stories were shared about some of the encounters he had over the years with some rather rambunctious bulls. As each person shared their own story it was easy to visualize Shine in these rather precarious situations. It was so fitting to laugh out loud and brought out the humorous side of ranching and the mishaps that come along with working with unpredictable animals.

Shine was much more than a rancher and I was touched as that side of him was revealed. First and most important of all, he placed God first in his life and served him to the best of his ability. He served as a deacon in his church and was faithful in his attendance on Sunday morning, Sunday evening, and Wednesday evening until shortly before his death.

After God, Shine’s family came next. He lovingly cared for his bride of 63 years, especially after her health started to fail. His love was evident to outsiders as he gently cared for her needs despite his advancing years. My heart broke for her as I observed her at the funeral because she looked so lost without him.

Shine was so proud of his children, grandchildren, and even his new greatgrandchild. A story was shared how after a rainstorm, Shine took his grandchildren in the pickup in search of the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. A creek full of water stopped the search, but left the children with a priceless memory.

Friends and neighbors were also important to Shine and he willingly helped them as much as he was able. If he said he would help a person you could count on him to keep his promise. Although I didn’t know him very well, I count myself lucky to have met him.

I am sure that Shine must have had his faults that weren’t shared at the funeral because there is only One who was perfect. Shine was thankful for that one, Jesus Christ, who died for him and provided eternal life for him. Shine is now in heaven with his Savior for all eternity.

Being a Christian is much more than what you say, what church you attend, or the number of people who attend your funeral service. Being a Christian isn’t about how spiritually you appear on the outside, but a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. From that relationship comes an outpouring love for others. In John 13:35 we read,” By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.”

How will you be remembered at your funeral?

Debra Whittington is a long time Tucumcari resident. Contact her at

dawhittington@msn.com