The 49th day of prayer for the father and stepfather have come and gone. The quietness of the place where his ashes remain sits quietly in my memories, especially when I think of the final morning ceremony. As I replay the scenes in my mind I am struck by the fact that Buddhist ceremonies do not have a lot of fear in the words. The focus is what is being done on behalf of the one that has left.
As the priest guided those that were there, I could see two distinct parts. First, there were small portions where only he chanted and prayed. Most of the time he was guiding, instructing, and leading. Silently everyone took his lead – from the oldest to the youngest. You could see the seriousness on their faces. You could also catch moments when a smile came on each in her or his own turned remembered the father’s humor and love for people.
This was not a unique scene. To the left and to the right, I could see others participating in something similar. As common as it was, what stays with me is the intensity that I saw on a young boy’s face in front of me. He wanted to get it right. His respect for the older generation was clear. His eyes were open, seeing everything. His soul seemed quiet. It was as if he was listening and at times smiling, almost laughing to the voice of his grandfather. He may not have known the protocol in advance, however he was determined to do his part.
I think of the ways I approached God and realize this young boy is offering me something different. He was following protocol, from the heart outwards. He understood David’s invitation. “Earth-creatures, bow before God; world-dwellers – down on your knees!” (Psalm 33.8) His intensity gave birth to smiles and laughter. You and I have an opportunity to follow in his steps. Today is an opportunity to mix intensity with smiles and laughter. I hope to finish it with a smile, just likes his.