I attended the funeral service for the mother of a friend I’ve known since high school today. Nick and his family are Greek and the service was held in a very ornate Orthodox church. I’d been to Greek churches with Nick a few times over the years, yet it had been awhile and I had forgotten just how steeped in ritual they are.
His mother’s casket was rolled out the stretch limousine, up the church steps and down the aisle by the pall bearers while one of the priests shook a silver container of burning incense towards it. The smell of the incense brought me to feel as if I were in a foreign land. That sensation stayed with me as I walked into the dome church and took a seat along the aisle. I looked up at the altar where three priests dressed in their full robe attire stood side-by-side. The service started and much of what I was hearing was in Greek. I felt like I was some distant world. I wanted to be fully present for the service yet my senses had been knocked a bit off kilter. Then it was as if my sense of smell, sight and hearing all came together to tell me that something extraordinary was taking place. I was observing a ritual that was honoring the divine. The candles, the incense and the Greek singing combined had created a sacred place. I felt the energy of the divine.
I looked then at the open casket that was placed at the foot of the altar. Nick’s mom had passed on Sunday and here it was Thursday. The priest was describing the process of death in a way that was much too flowery for me. I wanted to get to my own sense of meaning. I sat there wondering exactly what the soul of my friend’s mother had been experiencing over the past few days. I thought for a few moments that someday it is going to be my turn. Then I looked around the church and wondered if anyone else was having these same kinds of thoughts or if it was just me.
One of the things that the priest said that did stick with me was that we were created to live, not to die. He said that we were created to live forever, which is something that I, too, believe. That would suggest that we bring forward everything we are in this lifetime, good points and not-so-good. This means there is always an opportunity to let go of your demons and get your slate a little cleaner for the journey ahead. If you knew you were going to die tomorrow, what might you want to clean off your slate beforehand? And so what is it going to take for you to stop procrastinating?
Thank you for visiting.
Inspired by A Course in Miracles