Monday, March 31, 2008

Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.

Have you noticed the shift in our society? When a funeral procession passes, where are the compassionate citizens who pull their cars over and get out with their hands over their hearts to symbolize the grief that is passing in front of their eyes?

This past weekend I noticed a funeral procession approaching me on a 6 lane divided road. I began to pull over and was nearly run over by the cars around me. Not one other car attempted to pull over to show respect to the poor people on the opposite side of the road. No one even slowed down. No one pulled over.

It struck me that I have not been in the presence of a funeral procession in a very long time. Maybe years. Consequently, I have not had the opportunity to teach Princess how to show respect in such a situation. Maybe the other drivers around me were in the same situation? Maybe they had not been taught how to honor the mourning in their midst. Maybe my principles are grounded in rural America where you simply stopped what you were doing to stand silently for a moment and reflect on life and death. To mourn with those who mourn.

Maybe my strong belief about this is grounded in the fact that the person in that hearse has passed into the last stage of eternity. Life on this earth is eternity ... just one segment of it. As eternal beings, we have already begun eternal living. We get caught up in the "dash" of life. 1964 - 2008. Reality reminds us that the "dash" ... the hyphen in between the birth and the death is where a fraction of our life is spent. When a hearse passes me, my heart aches with the knowledge that " ... wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it."

As the funeral procession passes me, I want to stand in the presence of the loved ones with my hand over my heart to tell them that I honor their grief. I honor their loss. I honor the fact that their loved one has passed to the majority of their eternal existence. I would love to stand alongside others who acknowledge the loss, grief and passing.

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