I always wondered what the swinging incense ball-thingy was. There I sat in my first Catholic funeral mass, fumbling with my coat and answering texts from my kids in an awkward up and down motion. Beside me sat a classmate who knew all the words and motions – sweetly warning us when she lowered the kneeling-thingy. The classmate on my other side, like me, sat in awe of the beautiful liturgy and song honoring the life of our friend.
He was 47 years old.
I strained to see the eyes of his mother as she strengthened herself in the hope of Christ to bear the loss of her son. I searched the eyes of his young daughter and thought of her wedding day. I read and re-read the text on the pamphlet. St. Joseph’s Hospital. The very same hospital of my birth.
We gathered to honor and celebrate the life of our friend.
I returned home to my very small but significant life. I pulled my hair back and reloaded the dishwasher. Filled Coco’s bowl with fresh water. Peeled the potatoes for dinner.
I wondered about the legacy of my life and how I am living each and every day.
I pray the ordinary acts of love will count for much. I pray I will have spent much more time giving and less time gathering. I pray, somehow, I will have told others how deeply, completely, uniquely, and passionately loved by God they are. I pray they will have grown tired of hearing that from me.
Maybe that swingy incense ball-thingy was to remind me that life is a vapor. It moves with deceptive speed. Live deeply. For you are deeply loved.