Fairs and Funerals

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 What A Wonderful World

Spending this past weekend living between hellos and goodbyes, fairs and funerals, it became clear what a gift I was given.  To witness the hello in goodbye and the goodbye in hello; neither done alone, but rather in community.

County fairs are places of great anticipation for fair food, wild rides, prize peaches, and stately steer.  People gather from near and far to share their talents, admire others’ talents, and swap tales.  Over and over you watch people greeting one another, each long since last seen.  In those moments you see the amazing connection in the ordinary comings and goings of our lives.  I witnessed first-hand parents giving an early lesson to very young ones about tending to and caring for a farm animal (who later became a dear friend), and now saying good bye.  Not an easy lesson, but so needed, and done so tenderly.

Funerals are places of pause for remembering and honoring someone we loved.  We find ourselves sharing in the profoundness of deeply caring for one another.  We sense we are not as alone as we might have thought, discovering we knew someone, someone else knew too.  We share the connection of them and as such, share our self with each other.  We stood in community watching the stream of cars, one following the other in a long line of love and remembrance.   As people walked into the service the warm embraces of “she was my friend” and “you are my friend” were apparent.  There was the nod of recognition of having shared this dear person and how we each were the better for it.   In the saying goodbye I witnessed the saying hello.  It lifted my soul and soothed my heart.

As we left the voice of Louis Armstrong stirred deeply throughout the room with What a Wonderful World.

“The colors of the rainbow so pretty in the sky,
Are also on the faces of people going by.
I see friends shaking hands saying how do you do
They’re really saying I love you”

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