APPLE SEEDS: Celebrations of life are golden opportunities


APPLE SEEDS: Celebrations of life are golden opportunities

In the last few months, I have had the good fortune to attend several funerals.

Now, you may wrinkle your nose or furrow your brow at that statement.  Let me explain. 

Although oftentimes steeped in raw emotion that can be both uncomfortable and cleansing, the “celebration of life” gives us the opportunity to see the best of the best in people we love, in people we admire, and sometimes in people we didn’t quite understand. 

It is the golden opportunity to reflect in the impact we have on life as we know it.

I will give you an example of a couple of those moments. 

Not too long ago, I played hooky from work to attend the funeral of a fellow choir member.  The man being revered, to all who knew him, was a gentle giant.  He left this realm suddenly -- at his home, with the love of his life, his wife of 62 years, at his side -- without notice and without pain. 

The good fortune I refer to is having the opportunity to be in a room with hundreds of people, all sharing memories of this incredible man whose greatest joy in life is explained by a simple statement: he shared and engaged with all around him. 

Hugh was renowned for his handmade wooden gifts -- remote control or stationary holders, (of which I have both) tables, stands, toaster tongs -- the list is long and varied. 

During the funeral service the pastor innocently asked, “Who here has been gifted with one of Hugh's creations?”  Almost every hand was raised, and every hand was accompanied with a smile and a memory.

Another such memory involves someone even closer, my Uncle Bill.

Among his many wonderful and memorable traits was that he used to metaphorically bestow either a ‘gold star’ or the feared ‘black star’ to the children of the family. 

When our large and loud family gathered to celebrate his wonderful, but too short, life, gold stars decorated the windows and ceiling of the house, reminding us that we should always aspire for the gold, in whatever form that gold presents itself.

I have had the opportunity to witness on many occasions the phenomenon of good will, generosity and kindness.  I hold tightly to those moments, those opportunities with both hands and will not let them go. 

Those moments remind me that a 'sincere' “Hello, how are you?”, eye contact and a smile, any sort of kindness really does matter. 

Some don't need those reminders.  The rest of us need to go to funerals, eat the lunch, and enjoy the fellowship and stories. 

The rest of us need to hang on for dear life to those moments in time; to time spent with those special people that cross our path or if we are lucky, walk the path for a while with us, reminding us all the way of how life is supposed to be.

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