Tuesday, January 29, 2013
IT'S A PARADE - CALLED LIFE
Who doesn't love a parade?? If you do not love a parade there is something deeply wrong with your soul. (My opinion, of course!) Parades are the happiest places and an American tradition all across this great land. In my lifetime I've enjoyed hundreds and even participated in a couple!
This month we've seen parades honoring Martin Luther King Jr. and re-elected President Barack O'bama. In past years I've been delighted by the St. Patricks Day Parade in Savannah, the Thanksgiving Day Parade in NYC and small town parades named for every kind of festival imaginable. My favorite is the Rose Parade from Pasadena, CA. That one is the grand-daddy of them all.
Every year we don't have plans, company, tummy aches or a power-outage, we are parked in front of the TV to watch millions of flowers literally float down the streets of that lovely California town.
People line up 20-30 deep all along the route to watch those incredible mechanical wonders bearing the most beautiful of all flowers, placed in unbelievable arrangements ride by. The floats are tall, self-propelled, creative, short, musical, whimsical, serious and themed!
The Rose Parade is long and has every type of horse, marching band and celebrity imaginable. Sometimes a fly-over by the Blue Angels is included. It's a WOW kind of day! Going to witness that parade is on my bucket list!
Most of the time most of US are not participants in a parade of that scale, but a grateful, appreciative audience.
There is another parade that demands our inclusion. We have no choice. The act of birth is our entry.
It is a parade of LIFE, from birth to death, and it too is INCREDIBLE. Boy, howdy, talk about beauty, diversity and entertainment!!!
WE ARE ALL MARCHING IN THIS ONE!
This past week some friends arrived at the end of the parade of life. They had been marching for many years and were tired. Their bodies were ravaged with disease and the effects of old age.
They arrived before the rest of us. Both crossed the finish line and entered into another era, another parade called ETERNITY. I'm sure glorious reunions awaited them that very second they took their last breath on this earth. Mothers, fathers, grandparents, siblings, friends, and great-great-great ancestors were no doubt cheering them over line, welcoming with open arms and huge broad smiles. As the song goes, we can only IMAGINE!
Family members remaining are still marching. They are now dealing with sadness, loss and grief. Grief is a terrible, awful, no-good, necessary part of living. It is acute and it is chronic. It is sudden and it is sneaky. There is no end to it's cloud for those left behind until they too arrive at the end of the route.
Death comes suddenly to some, often way too early in our estimation. Sometimes it is a slow process. And sometimes it arrives as a HORRIBLE SURPRISE.
The SURPRISE of death is a little confusing. Life AND death is the theme of our parade. We're ALL headed toward the finish line. I'm sad for friends that try to deny it's reality, they seem so unprepared.
Perhaps HOW we march in LIFE'S parade deserves more careful attention than how or when we cross the finish line. Perhaps we shouldn't be surprised at death, but embrace it as a NEW BEGINNING, a NEW PARADE. Maybe if we thought MORE about it, we'd be prepared.
Reminds me of the old hymn, "We're Marching to Zion, Beautiful, Beautiful Zion"
Meanwhile, I'm stepping high in THIS march, tooting my own horn, enjoying those marching along beside me, smelling the roses along the way! BUT, the next PARADE is going to be a doozy and I'm looking forward to that one, too!