Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Tuesday Thoughts

Yesterday on the shores of Lake Beltaine, I watched a casket being lowered into the ground. I had never seen that before, sure you know it must eventually end up being lowered into the vault..but they actually did it during the graveside service. WHOA! The sight of that casket disappearing is pretty final. I did however think that having a cemetary on prime lakeshore property was pretty cool, even though the occupants were past viewing the view. Our friend died of a untreatable brain tumor at the age of 59. He knew back in June that his days were numbered, and there was a gathering one day in July on a Sunday.....he was there and very full of life..last week I heard that he was scared of death, and then he slipped into a coma.

The Funeral was painfully long, but there was a great Funeral Lunch. Again, we non Catholics were left in the dust because there was no printed order of service. Is this a normal occurance? Don't they want anyone else to participate in their service? Why won't they share??

The priest asked that everyone spit out their gum. Well far be it from me to be a rebel..and I would have complied if he had a note written in Hebrew from God. High Mass or whatever you call the long communion service without a stick of gum in your mouth was a little too much to ask. Besides that IF I was to have gotten rid of the gum..where exactly was I supposed to put it? I do not carry a hand bag..sure I had an emergency Kleenex down in my bra..was I supposed to put it there..or was I supposed to sneak it out of my mouth and attach it under the pew..or just tack it to the kneeling rail? Goodness sakes..he didn't think that I should swallow it.. that wasn't going to happen. After the service Far Guy said "Did you get rid of your gum?" he was sitting in the front pew because he was a Pallbearer..I was sitting in the last pew..the deemed spot for Pallbearers wives. I replied "Heck no, did you think I would?" Far Guy just shook his head.

This morning we breakfasted with an old friend, one that we met up with at yesterdays funeral. Life is a circle, and Tom is still circling. He exhausted me, Far Guy kept up with him in his own medicated way. I take no medications..therefore I started to weep. I wept for his children, who will never know what a marvelous gifted funny man their father was before Alcoholism and Manic Depression claimed him. He has a degree in Theology, he was a Pastor a long time ago. He says now he argues with God, as long as there is some communication with God..that is a good thing. He is homeless, but everywhere is his home, he has no regular job, he paints..he finds solace in the lines he makes on the walls with his painting tools. He writes, deep stuff, heart wrenching, soul searching, painfully truthful stuff..he has two manuscripts someplace..he said he doesn't care where they are or if they are ever published, he said "Perhaps I will be famous someday after my death." Out in the parking lot he read to us from a well worn blue notebook..thoughts of the way things might have been. He might be famous someday ..I hugged him goodbye, and my tears still flowed. They fell like raindrops, heavy and wet..I must still have one lousy hormone acting up today.

I have to remember that God weaves the tapestry, and just because I don't like the colors that he is weaving right now..it will still be a beautiful tapestry, I am just viewing it from my tiny little perspective..and God sees the entire thing.

Leaving the restaurant I encountered an old friend, she was forever changed the day that her son was killed in a tragic car accident. It is like that day was the day that she stopped living..since then she just exists. I think she is still mad at God.

I also encountered my parents as they were leaving the restaurant and they told me of the birth of my newest Great Niece early this morning.. Brooke Hazel.. a perfect little girl..a gift straight from God.

Life is a circle, some die and some are born, some laugh and some cry..we don't know how many days we will be blessed with...so we better make the most of the ones that we have:)


Sunny said...

A very interesting post. Things to ponder.
As the saying goes; Every day is a gift, that's why it's called the present.
Sunny :)

hayseed said...

Amen. You know, I'm a Catholic, but I would never make you spit out your gum during a service, esp. a funeral, for gosh' sakes.

Tami Weingartner said...

Was it in Latin? It should have been in the spoken language of the parishioner???

Gail said...


Tipper said...

Funerals always leave me pondering life.

Anonymous said...

Hi Connie, How timely your post is. Two months ago, my brother and I attended the funeral of our former neighbor (age 96). Her 3 children that we grew up with were there. We spoke of childhood memories, laughed and cried together. Yesterday, the oldest son passed away unexpectedly. He had just retired and spent the summer packing apples/oranges into lunch bags for needy children at his church. What a shock for him to die within weeks of his aged Mother. As you say, live each moment to its fullest and always remember to take the time to embrace those you love.

Liz in PA said...

Dear Connie~ How profound your post is today!

Yes.....count each day as the precious gift it is, and remember to tell someone you love them, even a little hug can give that person the ultimate smile and happy feeling deep inside, when maybe they thought the sky was falling.

Andrea said...

Good post. I am baffled by the gum thing, unless he was used to speaking to junior high students-- It reminds me of this woman I worked with once--she was So Very Catholic (and quite obviously sure the rest of us were going straight to hell, even though I'm a fairly decent Methodist) that when I told her we were attending Mass at Notre Dame all she could manage was a shocked, urgent command: "Whatever you do, JUST DON'T TAKE COMMUNION." (I guess we weren't good enough).
I don't get it. I hope the gum in your mouth didn't constitute a mortal sin!

Jeanne Estridge said...

Sounds like you had a very emotional few days. Congratulations on Brooke Hazel (lovely name)!

L. D. said...

I really appreciated your feelings being expressed honestly. I had lost a wife as a young man and I finally realized that God loved me all the way through it. It took quite awhile to realize he was in charge and we really don't understand much about the coming and going of people's lives. My drug addicted brother was so confused that he self destructed living in his own illusions of reality. At 61, we were not surprised that he would die in his sleep. I don't understand the mental confusion that goes along with some lives but it is almost a spirit that won't let go, and they won't leave it. I mourn what could have been but know that I must press on. Our individual appreciation of life is heightened as our generation starts to leave this planet.

Rae said...

I am always anxious to read your posts. It doesn't matter the topic, you are able to put your thoughts into words so well. I can feel your passion in your writing. You have woven this one together nicely with the circle of life.

Congrats on your new great niece. And I am not Catholic either. I feel very awkward when I attend church functions for one of my grandsons. His mother is raising him in the Catholic faith. When they start kneeling and reciting, I sit like a dummy.

RURAL said...

I'm reading you, and you are reading me.

Very poignant post today. I loved those last few sentences. Really put things in perspective.

And congrats on the new great niece.


Roxane B. Salonen said...

Hey Connie, a really thoughtful post for sure, and full of the real stuff of life. I do want to briefly address the Catholic bits, since I am one and do understand and embrace the teachings of my faith. But let me start by saying that there is a tactful way of imparting these things to those outside the Catholic faith, and I'm sorry the priest didn't do this (from what it sounds like). When a short, respectful explanation is given, it's much more easily digested. No one wants to feel like an outsider. We abstain from food an hour before receiving the Eucharist because we truly believe the host is the body, blood, soul and divinity of Christ. We prepare our bodies to receive Jesus himself. To us, it is not a symbol but Jesus, truly, and food for the journey. That food sustains us and offers us graces, should we be open to them. It might have been too much to explain all that but there could have been some short explanation given to not make you feel out of it. As for non-Catholic receiving the Eucharist, it is not to alienate but because of the belief I just stated. If you do believe what we do about the Eucharist, there is a provision, I believe, that you could receive it, but since it's likely you don't as a non-Catholic, you would be saying "Amen," and "I believe" to something you don't believe." When we say "Amen," we are basically saying, "I am in full communion with the Catholic church and I believe its teachings." So, I'm assuming you aren't, which is why you wouldn't receive. I do think, when there's a mixed service, as there was at our wedding, that there should be more of an effort made to have a program so that everyone can be included in the worship experience. Well, I hope my explanation helped. Just remember that priests are human beings, and that we all screw up from time to time. :) You have no reason to feel like a naughty little girl. God knows your heart, so I hope you won't hold it against the rest of us. Sorry for the long comment but since it came up several times I wanted to try to set the record straight on behalf of all us Catholics who love our Protestant brothers and sisters. Blessings!

demainca said...

I still think it was a silly request! If my Parish Priest had made it I would have thought why in the world did he say that?? It was funny how you commented on the Kleenex hidden away.
But you did make it through the service anyway.

I am sorry about your friend. His life took such a different road that the one he was on. Is he unhappy with this one? Sometimes they can't be who they use to be and its easier to stay like they are now with no cares and to live in the bottle and in their own world.
As the circle closes congrats on the new life of your Great Niece Brooke Hazle.

Anonymous said...

A very moving post. In the UK, we lower the coffin into the ground and throw earth on top. That sound is the sound of finality.

Such a good reminder that we must enjoy the days we have!

Emma Rose said...

I find the "spiritual death" of your friend the most tragic part. I pray that he finds his way back someday, for clearly he is lost.

The Duchess