Thursday, June 26, 2014

pooling our lives

I am surrounded by the signs of life.

OK.  I know we all are.  After all, while we are alive, even the noises we produce are signs of life.

But I am talking about people so in tune with the joy of their lives that laughter is an inevitable peal.  Right now, the gang is hanging out either in Leo's pool or the surrounding deck.  It is a lovely night.

Theresa's mass was everything I would have expected.  Classy.  Stylish.  Contemporary  But, more importantly, heart-felt and based entirely on her strong Christian faith.

My involvement was that of friend -- and as eulogist.  Leo asked me to read the tribute I wrote about Theresa last week (laying down the flowers). 

I wish I could say I managed to get through it without touching my own emotions.  I didn't.  More than a few sentences ended with a choked sob, rather than drollery.

But, as I said earlier, it was a heart-felt service.

The most memorable moment was at the close of the service.  The pianist was singing "Goodbye For Now"-- a song he had written for the funeral of his own wife.  Theresa's casket was sitting at the front of the church.

Leo stood, walked to the casket, and stood there with his hands on the casket -- saying his final farewell to Theresa, as he committed her body to God just as he had committed her soul last week.

I started to reach for my camera, thinking Leo may want a photograph of the moment.  But it would have been the wrong thing to do.  It was a private time that all of us in the congregation were privileged to share.

When we were young, Leo and I once talked about the utility of funerals.  Like all young men, we didn't get it.

We do now.  Rituals are how we attempt to make sense of the unknown and the things that cannot be understood.

They also give us a way to continue with our lives.  They do not heal the hurt.  They -- along with our faith -- allow us to carry on.

And that is what is happening this Wednesday.  Theresa's family and friends are eating, reminiscing, singing, eating, laughing as part of this family's ability to grab life and make it their own.

It has been a memorable day.  A day where I remembered my friend Theresa and had the honor of sharing the joy of sharing life with new acquaintances and old friends.


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