Thursday, September 25, 2008

Tell the Corpse You're Sorry

Why must conversions always come so late? Why do people always apologize to corpses? ~David Brin

Back when I was 21 years old, I'd just been married a few weeks, and I'd started my first "grown-up" job, as the Associate Minister of the Wewoka Church of Christ, a member of the congregation died, and her funeral was scheduled for my birthday. Things went OK, until it was time for the family to have a "last good-bye" with their departed loved one.

A woman, who was probably 50 [but looked old to the me I was then] stood before the body, weeping. Then she spoke to the body.

"I'm sorry, mama," she said. "I'm so sorry. I'll take care of everything, mama." Then the lady reached into the casket and grabbed her mother's body up in her arms and started to pull her out of the box. Of course she wasn't trying to remove the body, but just to hug her mother, but I have to admit that my knees got wobbly, and I had no clue what to do. The people from the funeral home came dashing down the aisle, got the lady and the body separated, and tucked the old girl back in her casket. When I found the Brin quote I was reminded of that incident.

Is it a general truth that we fail to use our time properly? Do we weep at the grave because we realize there is no longer any chance to do or say what we now wish we'd done, and said?

Leo Buscaglia, PhD, used to tell a story about assigning writing assignments to his students about what they would do if they only had one day left to live, or 1 year left to live, or something like that. Buscaglia would discuss the content of those student essays and then ask why they were waiting.

I'd tell my mother that I love her. Then tell her.

I'd write a novel. Start writing.

I'd run naked on the beach. Then strip off.

Waiting for the fish to bite or waiting for wind to fly a kite. Or waiting around for Friday night or waiting perhaps for their Uncle Jake or a pot to boil or a better break or a string of pearls or a pair of pants or a wig with curls or another chance. Everyone is just waiting. ~Dr. Seuss

Go for it now. The future is promised to no one. ~Wayne Dyer

source: tex norman

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