Further on up the road*

by chuckofish

Now I been out in the desert, just doin’ my time
Searchin’ through the dust, lookin’ for a sign
If there’s a light up ahead well brother I don’t know
But I got this fever burnin’ in my soul
So let’s take the good times as they go
And I’ll meet you further on up the road

–Johnny Cash

The other day I went to yet another funeral for an old friend. It was held at the Episcopal church I used to go to–a “Requiem”–rather a high-falutin’ name for a memorial service with music and communion–but it was Rite I and done just right. This man loved his church and he would have approved of the service.

In contrast, a couple of weeks ago I attended the memorial gathering of another dear friend, whose children arranged for a get-together at the Ethical Society, but had no plan further than to say, “If anyone would like to say something about our mother, please feel free to do so.” I had come prepared to say something, so I broke the ice and said my piece, but it was all a pretty sad effort.

Which got me thinking about how important it is to have a real service to fall back on. I mean, even John Wayne on a cattle drive saying, “Get the book and I’ll read over him,” (and I have to admit, this appeals to  me) counts as a service.

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In sure and certain hope of the resurrection to eternal life
through our Lord Jesus Christ, we commend to Almighty
God our brother N.; and we commit his body to the ground; *
earth to earth, ashes to ashes, dust to dust. The Lord bless
him and keep him, the Lord make his face to shine upon him
and be gracious unto him, the Lord lift up his countenance
upon him and give him peace. Amen.

Maybe I am acutely aware of the truth of “in the midst of life we are in death” because I work with older adults, or maybe it’s because I’m getting older myself, but for whatever reason, I am reminded regularly that life is precious and one never knows when you will be talking to someone for the last time. So pay attention to the people you love and the people you like. Pay attention.

Have a good weekend!

*Note that it’s further on UP the road, not down. Discuss among yourselves.