Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Funerals Part II

The morning dawned hot and muggy. I arrived early and parked in my usual spot. I had no sooner slammed my car door when the building super flagged me down with an orange cone. “ Gotta move this vehicle, gotta move it now, ma’am”. I dodged the cones as he animatedly showed me where I needed to park. I got back in and re-parked.

When I came inside, I could tell that my boss had been there a while, as he had left a well-worn path in the hallway outside his office. He tends to pace when he’s working on a big project. My peanut jar was empty, and lay abandoned on the corner of my desk. “The bulletins, where are they?” I looked in the copy room and found a pile of unfolded funeral programs hiding on the bottom shelf left in the back. “ Here they are, come on now, little ecrues- come to the church lady” and they did. I gave him a copy and in a flash, he was gone. My phone began to ring. “ What time is it? Have the flowers arrived? Is the visitation room set up? What day is it what time is it How many teaspoons in a tablespoon?

I began to notice strangers roaming the hall in suits and high heels. I slipped on my business jacket and slipped OFF my shoes. My feet were safely hidden under my desk. Itucked them under the Yoga Ball I keep stashed under there.

The business admin pranced into my space holding a lightbulb in his hand. He curled his arm up until he was holding the bulb at eye level.
I thought for a moment he was going to pop it in his mouth and show off his magical powers of illumination, but instead he informed me that we had a problem. I like my bosses. The business admin is most delightful when he is chipper, and most entertaining when he is stressed.
I picked up the phone and called the super. “ Lightbulb on aisle 6, please” A bulb appeared within seconds of my request. “ I don’t know where it goes, will you come with me?” Shoes onboard, we walked into the sacred ritual space and found the organ sitting depressed in the dark sanctuary. The music light snapped on just fine, I felt around the pedals and found a vacant outlet and screwed the bulb in. The organ was immediately illuminated. It was ready to play. Tick tick tick… The altar guild began to arrive, their white jackets snapped on and newly pressed. They are like white bees. They buzz around the area directing people to the sanctuary, the bathroom , the Kleenex..

I went back into my office when, “ The organist has gone missing!!!” The organist we were able to get was not our usual in house player. She apparently had wandered in without being noticed, and it now appeared she had either changed her mind, or been abducted. We put out an all points bulletin and started searching the building. While we were wandering about, she had found her way into the sanctuary where the newly illuminated organ drew her attention. It was nearly show time. My boss slipped on his robe. It transformed his energy into calming strength.

I could smell the aroma of bereavement food coming from the kitchen. I changed my radio from rock to classical in honor of the occasion.
People continued to come. The funeral home manager requested additional podiums for guest books. Pictures were set up, telling the story of the life of the deceased. So much to do, all for someone who was already gone. I wondered if he was happy in his life.I wondered if he knew this many people respected him? I hoped that wherever he was now, that he felt better for being here.

The funeral played out, the only quiet hour of the day, and the chaos settled a bit. Up and down, and all around. Settled til next time.
Funerals are a lot more than remembrance rituals. A lot.

Church Chick

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Best regards from NY! » » »