9.10.2011

Missionary Positions: How an Undertaker does it.

Today we hear from Caleb Wilde, an actual, for real Undertaker.  Like, the kind who buries dead people. No. I'm not kidding....  And I love his perspective. 


Caleb the Undercover, Undertaking Missionary

I’m a funeral director.  And, I’m also a missionary.

I love Jesus.  Jesus calls Death his last enemy.   And Death pays me cause I work for him.  And while Death doesn’t know that I love Jesus (I don’t think he cares), Jesus knows that I love him.  So, I guess I’m really an undercover agent who works for Jesus’ enemy but really works for Jesus.  Like Leonardo DiCaprio in The Departed, except I only drop f-bombs half as often and I don’t think I’ll get an awesome head shot scene when they come out with the movie about my life. 
Come to think of it, Jamie’s life would make a great movie … I wonder who could play her?  Angelina Jolie’s cool and Angie like’s poor people too … that might be a match? 

As a worker for Death (Jesus’ last enemy), I’m behind the scenes of Death's operation, trying to bring down the system and all that stuff as I speak life to those who request my services.  Speaking life is how I bring the system down.

But, even though I come from a family where all the males with the last name Wilde have been funeral directors for the last 150 years (I’m the sixth generation of Wilde funeral directors), I NEVER, ever wanted to be one!

When I was young, while all the other kids were drawing fireman, astronauts, princesses, and basketball players for their “What I Want to Be When I Grow Up” posters in elementary school, I was drawing a missionary … cause even in elementary school, I wanted to be a missionary.

How I drew a missionary … I’m not sure, but I’m pretty sure it was probably me, all grown up, dressed in a suit, with a black book that had “Holy Bible” inscribed in English on the front cover (cause everybody else in the world speaks English) in my extended hand, giving it to some naked Tribesman … and I probably blurred out the Tribesman’s dolphin with a subtle brown shaded crayon color.  That was probably my drawing.

Cause from a very young age, I wanted to be a missionary. 

And, in high school I lived like a missionary (a cool one, mind you … not the type featured in the movie Easy A).  And out of high school I became a missionary for two years with YWAM.

And then I left. 

At the age of 20, I left.  
Most missionaries leave missions for one of three reasons: 1). their commitment period is up, 2.) they become atheists, 3.) they get burnt out or 4.) the “Lord is calling me elsewhere”.  I guess that was four reasons.  Anyways, I used numero quarto when I left.

Except for me, the one who had wanted to be a missionary from elementary school on up, I felt God was calling me into the one place I NEVER wanted to be (isn't that always the story?) … back, behind enemy lines, working for Death. 

Lord knows, these past ten years have been incredibly shitty for me.  I feel like a failure wannabe missionary, living in the real world, but wanting to be out … handing nice shinny black English Bibles to brown skinned naked tribesmen.

When I first felt “called” to bury the dead at my family’s business, all my really spiritual friends and pastors used the whole “let the dead bury the dead” mantra, and that just made me feel even more sucky … cause I had no answer for them except that God was moving in me and was making it clear that I was to be a missionary as a funeral director. 

So here I am, ten years later and I imagine I feel like many missionaries, wondering, “What the hell have I done?   Have I made any difference?” 

And like most missionaries, I feel like the people I’m serving have ministered more to me than I have to them.  Sure, I’ve done plenty of nice, Jesus like things, but it’s amazing how much others minister to you when it’s your intention to be Jesus to them.   I’ve changed … a lot … for the better … because of those I’m around. 

So, now, I kind of believe any of us can be missionaries, anywhere, at any time, in any culture, just so we wear suits and dress cloths and have shinny Bibles in our hands (Just kidding).  And, I’m kind of thinking that my term is up in this mission field.  And, I’m waiting for that movie to be made of Jamie, played by Angie.  

   

There's so much good stuff to be found on Caleb's blog, "Confessions of a Funeral Director".  Be sure to pay him a visit; His post on the famine in the Horn of Africa is not to be missed!

Or. Stalk him on the Twitter

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For the record? My life isn't movie worthy, nor is my face Angie worthy.... I'm more like a poorly written sit-com staring Leslie Mann.  And I'm cool with that.

Leave Caleb some comment love, and tell us - Who would play you in the movie of your life?