Three years ago yesterday the public was invited to a funeral to mourn the death of Tim Bosma.
To honor Tim and his memory and to acknowledge the impact his murder has had on the broader community, this is a repeat of a Daily Dad post from that funeral, and another repost, below it, on finding peace amidst the pain.
Tim’s funeral in its entirety can be watched here.
As Tim’s exhausting murder trial now winds down, our prayers continue to be extended to Tim’s friends and family, that they do find a measure of peace amidst that pain.
Tim Bosma’s funeral: a bittersweet day
(Reposted from May 23, 2013)
The children had dental appointments and I was running late and so found myself in the back without a program in hand, a thousand people in front of me, a thousand faces, a thousand hearts, some in black clothing, some not, all coming together for one purpose, to say goodbye to Tim Bosma.
We listened to the preacher talk about it, about how this is all a warning that you, that YOU need to get your life together, that Tim’s death is your wake-up call, how there is nothing better to clear the senses than this sort of thing, the sobering knowledge of your own hanging at sunrise, and that in this, whether you care to see it or not, you can give thanks.
We sang. We prayed. Sometimes the prayers had words. We listened to stories of Tim from his friends and family who filed to the podium one after the other.
His father remembered the day when Tim was born. And he remembered the day Tim misbehaved and dad grounded him for a week, forcing the little boy to help him with this project or that in the back yard. “And he said, ‘Daddy, that was the best grounding that I ever had,’ ” because Tim, in fact, enjoyed spending time with his father that much.
The news cameras were there and the lights and the microphones, so that many other thousands could hear and see. All this in the same public hall where Tim and his wife were married, where they and their friends danced and gave thanks and drank wine in a very different way, now a hall of both sweetness and bitterness, the only location, really, that could hold such an outpouring.
Then Sharlene stood at the podium and there were murmurs and gentle gasps and anticipation. And through her brokenness she not only held it together but made us laugh several times before mentioning the devil. The devil, she said, knocked on her front door one recent evening. Then he smiled at her before taking away her Tim, before doing what the devil loves to do, lie and steal and shove a long knife through any heart that happens to be in front of him.
And I stood with those thousand others and listened through glassy eyes. I was struck by many things. I was moved to consider how so much of life is not how we want, but simply how it is.
This is the story. The disappearance and murder of a man most of us never even knew. It has somehow touched my life. It has somehow touched the life of an entire community. An entire country. And it has done this because our lives, for better or worse, flow into each other. This is what we know more than ever. No man, no woman, no child, is an island.
If you can get murdered for no good reason, so can I. And if you don’t have peace and joy and freedom, neither, really, can I. We’re all in this together. Somehow. Both the lost and the found, we’re together.
At the end it was ‘It is Well with my Soul’ before the sandwiches and everyone streaming back to their jobs and gardens and daily routines. But before that, for the final reading, I had to ask the woman in front of me if I could look over her shoulder, because I had come late and didn’t have that program and didn’t know the reading as well as I’d like to.
It was of the vision of old John when he was at Patmos left to die and rot as a prisoner on that island, among the last passages that ends the Bible’s last book, clanging like an old gothic church bell, and so true — if John were here he’d insist it was as true as you putting on your shoes this morning – when it says that one day, one mysterious day, there will be no more tears. God himself will wipe them from our eyes. He will be with us, without time. This is what old John saw, what he couldn’t, not really, explain. Everything new. The things we now live with, even death itself, all passed away. Earth. Heaven. Everything in between. Gone, for something better.
Some days you wonder if it’s not just a bit too far beyond belief. On those days, you also somehow wonder how anyone could believe anything less.
Tim Bosma, dream house builder. Don’t let your heart be troubled.
(Reposted from May 15, 2013)
‘Don’t let your hearts be troubled,’ is what he said. ‘Trust in God. Trust also in me. My Father’s house has plenty of room.’
This is what Jesus told his friends. That he was going to get things ready. That he’d come back to get his friends when things were all set. He’d have to go away for a while. This, after all, was no small project. But at the right time he’d come back. And his friends would somehow know the way to find him.
Thomas, always one for questioning, said no, it wasn’t so, that they didn’t know what Jesus was talking about or what was really happening. Things were too muddy. Too unclear. ‘How can we know the way when we have no idea of where you’re even going?’
This is the story. Our story. It’s the story that has unfolded in Hamilton in the last week, the story of the disappearance, and now we know, murder of Timothy Bosma, an unassuming and faithful husband and father who, as it is, worked in the home industry, a man who was prayed for in one way or another by thousands of people in this community and across the country.
‘Timothy is dead,’ is how my nine-year-old daughter, Liz, put it when I got home last night. I said that I knew and we talked about it and we prayed again for the Bosma family.
Soon after, we all went to bed like we always do, another day completed, another sunrise and sunset, a new day soon to start with the same routine – eat, school, work, play, sleep. This is it, over and over with some variation, the story that any of us have.
The doubters will say it is a meaningless story, as meaningless as prayers that don’t go past the living room ceiling. There is nothing more, they say, and to all appearances on many days they seem right.
Those doubters still get up every morning, regardless, out of fear as much as anything, because we all know more than ever now that one might be murdered before lunch or, if that doesn’t happen, we will still die like a single long-drawn breath over the span of whatever time we’re handed.
I was reminded of this shortly before Liz and I prayed for the Bosma family. My wife and I had just been out of town visiting a friend of some years, a cancer victim, a jaundiced woman as yellow as a falling leaf, sitting in a corner chair in a small room in her home.
We knew this would be the last time we would ever see her, and she did too, and she smiled and talked matter-of-factly about her children, that they would move from another city to live in her house after she died. We hugged her and my wife cried and on a certain level I found it all rather unremarkable.
Because, like Timothy Bosma, this woman knew that there is more than this tired, old world and that her passing would be just a sort of moving up more than anything, that another home awaited her in a neighbourhood more upscale than she could ever dream of.
She didn’t worry about finding the way. She had already somehow found it. And she knew that in the end she’d have to be carried the rest of the way, anyway, not unlike how a young and beautiful bride is carried across the threshold. ‘We’re home, now’ the groom says to her. ‘This is it. Do you like it?’
She looks around. She can’t say a word. It’s beyond words. Her heart is not troubled in this moment. It will never be troubled again because time itself no longer exists.
‘How do we get there?’ Thomas asked Jesus. It’s not a bad question. Jesus never criticized his friend for it. He knew that Thomas was a man of questions more than he was a perpetual doubter per se, and that asking plenty of questions helped build his faith.
Jesus simply answered him, ‘You get there by opening your eyes, by looking at what is in front of you. Look at me. Stop worrying. Look at my Father’s house. Really look at it. It’s not even finished yet and already the world’s most beautiful mansions look like garbage dumps beside it. Don’t put your future in them. Put it here, with me. Put it here, right here, in this place.’
This is the house, the real dream house, the house that will somehow last forever.
This is the house that Timothy Bosma is now helping to build. Don’t look for him anywhere else anymore. He’s gone. He’s busy in that other place. Busy with other things. Big things.
It is a time to mourn, a time for the Bosma family and Timothy’s close friends to mourn like no other time. We cry with them. This community will never be the same.
But what then?
This is what he says. No, don’t let your heart be troubled.