I looked over the lush green lawn scattered with headstones and through the wrought iron fence. Traffic flowed at it’s normal pace, the drivers oblivious to the fact that we were laying a citizen to rest. The irrational part of me wondered why they didn’t stop or at least show some reverence and drive by the cemetery slowly. I felt betrayed by them. I wonder if any of them said a prayer as they passed.
I turned my attention back to the graveside service. The Reverend started singing and everyone joined in. What have I to dread, what have I to fear, leaning on the everlasting arms? I have bless-ed peace with my Lord so near, leaning on the everlasting arms. I hadn’t been to church in quite some time, but I knew the song well. Mother sang it all the time. I missed her. I didn’t sing with them. I have a horrible singing voice. Everyone else raised their voices, clapped in rhythm and harmonized. A few family members raised their hands and shed tears. I swayed and let the rich sound of voices wash over me. The Reverend said a prayer. He talked about how short life is and the value of every moment, the importance of God in one’s life and eternal life. Then he extended an invitation to anyone who was not saved to accept Christ as their Savior and began to sing another hymn. No one stepped forward.
The graveside service ended with everyone placing a white rose on top of the casket and then they watched as it was lowered into the earth. The Reverend said a final blessing and everyone went back to their cars. I looked back toward to the fence. Cars and trucks still sped down the highway like nothing happened. The world only stopped for the family, and a little bit for me. I couldn’t be upset with the rest of the world for not stopping or slowing down to realize a soul had moved on. Life goes on, after all. My partner tapped me on the shoulder and handed me a shovel. “This body ain’t gonna bury itself. Let’s get this done and then we can go get some lunch,” he said. He was right. We got to work and quietly covered the grave.