Monday, March 9, 2009

to lament and to dance

I found the whole thing appalling. How can we attend a young child's funeral in the morning and a wedding at 2 pm, reception to follow? This is a bad bad idea. Impossible to navigate with any level of sanity or grace.

But the day comes and I get up, brush my hair, put on something dark-ish and get into the car headed for the funeral home. The casket is small and white. The flowers lavished over it fall like a blanket over the sides, a photo of a dark eyed, tow headed little girl is lovingly placed on top.

The group of mourners is small. This is family, not fame. We share a lot of tears. Just a look at each other starts the crying again. We hold onto one another. Tears and touching, over and over. The words are brief. A gentle lullaby is sung by an aunt. The windy graveside and dirt in our palms. More hugs and tears and holding hands with anyone standing close.

Then we go to lunch at Wendy's.

And home to change. Bright clothes this time. Perfume and hairspray and earrings that sparkle. Into the car and to the church. And laughing and beauty and promises and beginnings. Flowers with ribbons and lace covered tables loaded with little sausages snuggled in crispy wrap and thin slices of prime rib beef alongside garnished salads and bowls of sculpted butter balls. Then music and dancing. Kisses.

My heart is completely full and deeply satisfied. I expected chaos tonight, emotional devastation, soul confusion. But I find myself in a peaceable place that feels like belonging or love - sad and also very much alive. Restful. Amazed at life.

This is how I learned that sorrows and joy are not enemies, but that they sit at the same table and eat from the same bowl. Sorrows makes joy possible and joy makes our sorrows tolerable. And that when shared, both can be love.

A friend wrote, "The answer to suffering is not the absence of suffering. It is love." And the two travel hand in hand when we are awake to life.


Krissi said...

My heart and mind are full of thoughts this week. This has added to it, and I love it.

Kathy said...

This was a very moving post and something I will be thinking about for quite a while.