Who was kind to me today?
Today I went to the funeral of the father for a friend that I have known since high school. In high school we might have been better called as friendly acquaintances, but have come across her in the last few years and… well… when they come to visit you in the hospital after major surgery they become friends.
I have a personal saying that if you can, always go to the funeral. I have attended more funerals than weddings, so that holds true. I have a special place in my heart for funerals. They are the last of the major rituals we have where you can feel the vulnerability of being human. It resides in all the aspects, they tell so much about the person and the family. Funerals for males are often better attended than those for women (and this is more evident the older the folks are). Families who share tend to reveal things that are much more heartfelt. There are tears and laughter. Granted, it is not going to be an all-seeing eye into the whole dynamic of a person, but that is not the function of a funeral related service. I learned a lot about the father, whom I met only once when he served as the officiant of the funeral for a friend in high school that has passed away (just after we finished going to high school). He was a pastor, Norwegian, a Jungian therapist. He inspired a wide array of people, many of whom were also clergy. They all appreciated him, the church was full. One of the many things that struck me was that a pastor I have experienced before was one of the ones there giving a testimony and assisting… he is (possibly was, he was not listed as the pastor for the church I met him at) called The Dude as he reminds one of the characters (the lead) from The Big Lebowski. There is a similarity in presence, perhaps even in visage. It was a shock to see him there. He was the pastor of someone I knew, called a friend. I felt, strongly, that he misguided this person in his counseling and catered to their ego rather than direct them to a greater truth. So, to listen to him say that he was alive because of my friend’s father was a shock to my system and to some extent his proclamation called in to question all of counseling. But this is not about him, it is about kindness… though this personal tie had some resonance with me in regards to gentleness and kindness. My friend was kind, she went out of her way to make me feel like my being there was some form of comfort to her. As I walked past her after communion, I placed my hand on my heart and looked at her. She returned that with the quick sign language sign for I love you.
It is the symbol I use with my son when we can’t speak to each other and I want to remind him he is loved and supported…. and it hit me in my heart when she signed it to me. It was a gesture of kindness.
After the service I stopped by the home of another friend that I have known since high school and picked up some gifted fruit! Another kindness towards me.