I was struck this morning by the look of weariness that I saw on the face of staff as I had 20 people join me for a Zoom “coffee” meeting to start the week. I thought to myself, how do I bring a sense of hope to a team that looks out on the horizon and is bracing for the worst? Working for cemeteries and funeral homes, we brace ourselves for dealing with death every day.
Yet, today it feels different.
Our whole world has entered into the conversation of death. You would think that maybe we would feel a bit more understood, but to the contrary I see the weariness of that comes with bearing down, with personal and family issues, and with a never-ending news cycle. In fact, when friends and family ask me about how I am doing I have to remind them that our staff are on the front lines. We aren’t the first responders trying to help save lives. There is no glory in burying the dead. In fact, we are the ones who have to admit to the reminder that in death someone has been defeated. There is loss, and we can’t even do for a family what we would normally, to bring consolation.
Blocking and Tackling…
As I reflected on where we find ourselves, I thought about my best coaches who prepared me for life. When I was a freshman in high school, I played one year of football. I played five positions (kicker, punter, defensive line, offensive line, and tight end). It sounds like a lot, but frankly, I was tall and they were trying to figure out where I belonged! What stuck with me is that there is no glory in football if your team can’t “block and tackle”. No football game is won or lost without dedicated players doing the little things, without sacrificing for the good of the team, and with the only attention coming to linemen ever if they made a mistake. The beauty of sports is that they test the human spirit and build us for the real struggles we will come across in life. Today, more than ever, I believe that we are being asked to be a sign of strength and fortitude for our families, for our community, and for humanity. It is the little things we do and our perseverance.
When we get up tomorrow to come to work, I wish I could tell everyone that it will be different. Yet as Christians, we have been down this path of burying the dead for over 2,000 years. We have a dedicated group of employees, of believers, who continue to serve others when no one else is looking. In a world confronted by fear, it is our ability to stare into the face of death and find joy and love for families and one another. That sets us apart.
With blessings and gratitude,