Haven't written much, but it not because I haven't had anything going on... one of my friends lost his mother last week and I attended the service on Friday.
They should have warned me.
I was kind of expecting a service mostly in Spanish, and I'm certainly capable of bowing my head when everybody else does and basically following along. And of course I knew that the she had attended the Iglesia Baptista, and, living in Texas, I'm certainly familiar enough with Baptist services to basically know what going on, despite any language issues.
What I didn't know is a nephew, a reverend in a fundamentalist church, would be conducting the service.
Now, I'm pretty broad minded myself, and I'm certainly willing to tolerate others beliefs and traditions at their funerals and weddings and such... I'm just a guest as I didn't have to attend after all... but if your tradition includes altar calls... and your expecting me to bow down by a casket and have unknown persons pray for my sins in Spanish... you are going to be sorely disappointed. I will stage my own little Episcopalian revolt right there... fortunately, it never came to that as I noticed the rest of the family and the other mourners seemed to be just as stubbornly sticking to the pews as I was and he moved on... a young lady sang a very good rendition of, "His Eye Is On The Sparrow" and he stood again.
Expecting that the service was winding down after the final hymn, I was disappointed.
Now he began quoting the bible, this was a verse about David & Bathsheba. He then lapsed into Spanish, so I'm afraid I cannot tell you how that adulterous relationship was relevant to the occasion, but I'm kind of fascinated to know. And then another altar call. Again, no takers... but that didn't seem to discorage him much... he's determined... finally, an hour and a half later, about the time that smokers at the back of the room had begun sneaking out, an the smokers at the front of the room were gritting their teeth, we all stood up and paraded past the casket for the final viewing.
She was a great lady. I gladly and willingly endured this terribly uncomfortable service in her memory.
But an hour and a half is pushing it. And I'm blaming that preacher. He's there comfort, not convert, and there's nothing comforting about staring at a coffin while being told the deceased is in heaven and you'd better repent right this second if you want to join her later. (I'm not making that up... that was the message. And I cannot for the life of me figure out how David and Bathsheba apply to that.)
So we joined the smokers outside and waited for the graveside service. The groundskeepers were up to something, and we finally realized they was trying to chase off a coyote who was having a grand old time leading them on a merry chase among the tombstones. We were all cheering the coyote on actually, for a few minutes there.
My friend, the son of the departed, came out, said "thank you for coming" then we walked to the graveside.
So, the coffin was there.
The pall bearers all took off their (green?) Carnations and placed them on the coffin.
Reverend stepped up and conducted a prayer.
And he started talking.
And, I kid you not, ANOTHER altar call.
I swear I could hear the sound of the entire crowd rolling there eyes.
This man was determined.
And I am not proud, but I distinctly remember thinking, "if anyone is crude enough to stand up in this cemetery and have a graveside conversion... at least their soul will be saved before I hit them upside the head with a rock and push them in the hole."
Again... no takers.
There was a lot of fingernail studying, and ladies found things to look at in their purses, and gentlemen gave serious consideration to their shoelaces.
Finally we were released.
There was of course food, in the fellowship hall of the Iglesias Baptista, and my friend informed me that none of the family, nor his mother, had particularly wanted that particular nephew to perform the service, but they were kind of trapped into it somehow, and the actual reverend of her church, who had attended, was not happy at all... but there we were...
That was my Friday.
It was an experience to say the least...