“This is the day the Lord has made”
I went to a funeral yesterday, for a friend of my folks’, who had become a friend of mine, too, over the years. That’s the beautiful thing about growing up – your parents’ friends become your friends, too. The church was packed, which is always nice to see. The music was beautiful, and the words spoken by the priest were sincere, compassionate, and loving.
After the service, as we drove to the home where the reception was, I found myself looking out the window, and seeing plants and flowers I’d seen a hundred times before, but somehow they looked different to me. I love flora of all kinds, so it’s not to say that I was noticing things I never had. But a few times in my life, when I’m in the midst of something emotional, I’ve had a different view. The first time I noticed it was after my Awesome Girl was born. We were driving home from the hospital, and I was seeing beautiful flowers along the road, and I was convinced — still am — that they had grown for her. Sure, some talented landscaper had placed them in the ground at some point, and sure, maybe those blossoms had been there for a couple days already, but that’s only because they’d been prepared. God had made sure of it, because He had known that I would look out the window and see flowers in a whole new way, because I was a mother now. And what’s more, I wondered if the cars driving near us knew that that day was not an ordinary day. Because I was a mother now. I’m not self-involved at all. No I’m not. No I’m not.
Yesterday, as I looked at the plants we were passing, and even a few people doing everyday things, I marveled that they did ordinary things as if today was an ordinary day. Have you ever felt that? Have you ever gone to the grocery store wondering if strangers can tell something’s going on in your life? Yesterday, probably, for everyone I drove past, was an ordinary day. But not for all the people in that church. For them, this day was about celebrating one person. Remembering and appreciating, with a little crying, and a little rejoicing.
But the truth is, everyone you pass on the road, everyone you chat with at church, the dental hygienist, the grocery store clerk, the school secretary, the person in line in front of you… everyone is going through something. What if we all wore shirts that explained that? “My father’s funeral was this morning“… “I’ve been diagnosed with cancer”… “My wife has Alzheimers”… “My husband has left me”… “I have a two-year-old”… “I have a teenager”… Would we treat that person differently? Would we say, “nono, you go ahead,” or “I understand; I went through it, too,” or “here, let me help you with that,” a little more often?
Someone you don’t know is going through something you don’t know. Maybe it’s the best day of their life; maybe it’s the worst. But for someone in your life, the flowers look different today.
(Originally published: February, 2011)