For someone who is The Queen of Procrastination, it sure seems like I'm always in a hurry. Kind of ironic, isn't it? Where most people complain about how they hurry up and wait, I wait and then have to hurry up. Today was no different.
I work on Wednesday afternoons, in New Haven, Indiana, and while I like that I don't have to get up at 0:Dark-Thirty to go to work, sometimes it's a tad bit aggravating to have to stop whatever I've started doing that morning to get ready and go to work. I love doing dental hygiene, love my employer, love my co-workers, and love our patients (most of them). And I know, it's a lot easier to love a job when you only have to do it four hours a week, but still.
So I was pushing the time constraints once again when I found myself driving into New Haven, and all of a sudden, I noticed the pick-up truck in front of me started braking. We were out in the country, in the middle of a mile and I couldn't see why he was slowing down. No roads to turn onto, no driveways. And then I looked ahead of him and saw a long line of cars coming towards us. All had their lights on, driving slowly, led by a sheriff's deputy car with its lights flashing, and all had little flags on the roofs of their vehicles. It was a funeral procession.
I'll be honest - my first thought was, "Oh man, I'm really going to be late now." I pulled off the side of the road behind the pick-up truck and a car behind me did the same. And as I was sitting there waiting for the cars to pass by, so many thoughts went through my head, and I believe that's just what God intended.
I first was ashamed. Not of thinking how this was going to slow me down and make me late, but that I doubt I would have pulled over and stopped had the truck in front of me not done so. I don't find the custom of doing this to be strange, in fact, I've done it before, although it's been quite awhile since I've encountered this and I probably followed suit just like today rather than did it all on my own. And that's what bothers me.
Then I started thinking about whose funeral it was. I didn't know and even if I did, I probably didn't know the person. But it was someone's mother, brother, aunt, child, cousin, lover, or friend, and they were going to be missed. Their time here was over and there were tears that were surely shed today for this person that once walked among us.
The world seems to place greater importance on some lives than others and I suppose that's just being human. Some people fill the years of their lives with big and important accomplishments which make them more well-known while others live quiet lives, unknown to the masses, yet no less valuable to Their Maker. We all have our place here and no matter how long or short our lives are, they have a purpose, even if it's hard to put our finger on what that is sometimes.
So in the three minutes that it took for the funeral procession to make its way down the road, I went from feeling slightly inconvenienced to being sympathetic and reflective about this unknown life that had come to an end. And I hope the people they left behind knew that the three cars stopped on the side of the road were paying their respects in the only way they could at that moment.
Three minutes didn't seem nearly long enough.
Wednesday, June 20, 2007