Saturday, September 20, 2008
I didn't even tell everyone I should have told about it.
This Saturday, I just made sure I cleared my schedule to be where I needed to be - alone. Alone with the stone.
The funeral monument I had concocted by supposed experts in the field (a lucrative business it is too, that which puts a price tag to the reverence and value attached to a dearly departed one... Bereft, one has no choice but to foot the bill and one feels obligated to up it, too. Mourning quickly becomes a contest of who has the best tombstone; which family honored its patriarch or matriarch the best...! It just shouldn't be that way - but I digress.)
Hence, I told next to no one where I was going, this Saturday afternoon.
I was going to the cemetery - of course.
To spend time at the foot of my sire's final resting place on this earth -that is, as far as his mortal remains are concerned. Of course.
He, the true he, is not there. He -his immortal soul- is far away from here, far away from all this mess we call our planet, society, world... In short - he is with God.
And I am in purgatory!
Those who know me know what I mean already; life is pain, life is a test and those of us still among the living (if you're reading this, you are in that category - I hope!) are still passing THE exam - and it is purgatory if not hell, at best.
But I am digressing yet again...
Thus, I went to the grave of one of the greatest unsung men from the last one hundred years (at least) - and I just stood there, silently saying a prayer, silently speaking to him as well as to Him, up there...
And then I walked into that church, right next to the cemetery (I'll spare you the name of the parish though.)
Each year, at the same time or just about the same time of the year, they hold a commemorative celebration of those new arrivals to the "Father's Garden" - a faithful and hopeful way to refer to all those inhumed on the grounds all about there... One that I wholeheartedly agree with, of course - for all the previously expressed reasons and more - but it is an expression that I still find odd because it seems to emphasize the mortal remains over the soul just a tad too much, don't you agree?
God's "Garden" is one made out of Incandescent Flowers - the souls of His Children. It isn't one sown with coffins and cultivated by pallbearers and funeral parlors. It is a Garden to be found on a whole different level. Sometimes I wonder if members of the clergy realize this or simply fail to acknowledge it - because they do repeat often that line that pertains to "those who have gone to sleep" (I paraphrase) in hopes of Salvation...
And sometimes I can't help to wonder if those who are "asleep" aren't indeed the so-called leaders of the flock...!
But I digress once more...
And so, to get back to the subject at hand, which is my Saturday afternoon, I sat myself down in a church and listened to what was said... read... and taught. It was all very true and succinct; the message was also very, ah, "à propos" - since I was there for one of those "unsung greats" as I stated earlier, it was quite simply the perfect touch to have that passage from the book of Matthew reminded to all: "those who came first will be last, and those came last will be first."
Aye, I paraphrase - again.
Freely shall I always paraphrase - especially from the wisest sources (here, in this particular instance, it is Matthew 20:16 to be precise - for in doing so, I am making these wisest of sources even more accessible to those who are unfamiliar with them!
(Hmm... Matt. 20:16... Makes me wonder... Where will we ALL be, in 2016...? Hmm... Don't go mad pondering that question now! I am just digressing here - yet again!)
Onwards with my day - and the conclusion to this piece!
After the mass, I found myself even more prone to do as I'd done before and during it; and that is to observe my fellow Believers! I am a tiny bit distraught to say that, despite all my efforts to see "brothers" and "sisters" all about me, I only saw strangers - and not even true Believers at that! Most were there, it seems, as if it were merely an obligation imposed upon them - others, as if it were some outing, like any other. Most were chatty afterwards, about this and that, without much of any thought given to the dead supposedly "honored" on that occasion... Finally, many decided to forego communion - certainly that would be a clear indicator of their frame of mind going into all this, hmm?
The capper was the ending though - "le clou de la soirée," as they say - as everyone made their hasty exit, a handful headed for the cemetery again, of which I was too, of course. The priest had not only told everyone to head there, for one final prayer in the aforementined "Garden" itself, but he seemed to be readying himself to go too, with not just one but two trusty assistants - one holding a huge lit candle, the other, the incense... I guess they might have gone to another part of the cemetery -which is rather huge itself, but not THAT huge, really- because, minutes passed, and neither he nor his assistants ever showed up! One by one, these strangers whose loved ones are inhumed in the same grounds as mine, departed - not all that disappointed, in truth... Me, I was simply puzzled a little bit - for I had seen this sort of thing before, and, that other time, the priest (another priest) HAD come out and done his job!
Most had left when I finally saw the priest-man, in what looked close to be an Armani suit, hop into his car (a rather trendy SPORTSCAR too!) and drive away! Now, we all know that the suit does not the monk make (guess what - I'm paraphrasing again!) HOWEVER that particular kind of suit (and that CAR!) made the priest-man send out vibes that cried out quite a lot of things but none of it was "man of God" - if you know what I'm screaming!
I guess I have seen enough.
Next year (for these things are indeed annual commemorations - yes) I shall simply commemorate the way that feels best for ME - and on a date of MY choosing. I shall not attend those special celebrations again; alone or with any family (that I never want around anyways! But that is another story... for another blog!)
It is, after all, between my sire... me... and GOD.
Who needs a member of the clergy?
I sure don't.
Maybe that is why he didn't show up when he was supposed to...?
It gave me the chance to FINALLY notice what had always escaped me, thus far: that cemetery has a huge gap, a huge hole to fill, "virgin land" so to speak, right in the middle of it! What gives -?!? Are they cramming "regular customers" in every other nook and cranny just so they can keep lots of available space when the seven plagues begin - piling up the corpses everywhere...? Prices will likely rise then too, for a good "spot"... After all, the cemetery calls itself the "Fabrique" and is a BUSINESS like any other too...
Time will tell...