Out of the Bubble

Out of the Bubble

RiverWalk Church of Christ Wichita Ks  Minister

(Source: NPR Morning Edition, January 25, 2016)

Six seniors, young men from the Roxbury Latin Boy’s School in Boston, volunteered to be pallbearers for a man who died last September who had no family or friends to claim his body or provide a burial. He’s being buried in a grave in the city cemetery. The man’s name? Nicholas Miller.
The burial consists of the six teens, the funeral director, and two sponsors from the school. They each read a passage of Scripture, poem, or some other writing at the gravesite. Funeral home is one of a few in the Boston area that provide burials for indigent who have no relatives or friends that claim the body.
A couple of quotes from the students are pertinent here, and deserve attention.
“I know I’m going back, and I’m going to go to school and take another quiz,” says 18-year-old Brendan McInerney, “but all that work, you can get caught up in it. … When you kind of get out of that bubble that you can (get) kind of stuck in, you get perspective on what’s really important in life.”
Senior Noah Piou said of the experience, “That’s my first real moment presented with some form of death before me, and I was kind of at a loss for words at the time,” he says. “I’ve never met Mr. Miller before, but even within that I kind of had a connection with him, and I could feel that.”
And funeral director Robert Lawler says, :”It’s the right thing to do.”
Now let me comment.
Death really does have a way of getting one out of the bubble of me, myself, and I. It brings to focus a reality that we humans in general not only ignore, but actively seek to avoid. For at least a time, everything else that is going on in the world doesn’t matter, and we focus on the event, and upon our own mortality.
Dealing-with-DeathDealing with death is at once an all-consuming and draining experience. We lose sight of ourselves, and we ponder one of the great mysteries of life and living We develop a connection with the deceased; with the family; with those others who are touched by the death at hand. And we are able to take a refreshing breath outside the stale bubble of ourselves…our needs…our wants.
The words of the funeral director that it is the right thing to do to provide the dignity of a burial for the body of one who has lived and was created in the image of God ring out over and over to me as I go through my day.
“Do the right thing,” was the focus of my tenure at Logan County Hospital when dealing with others, whether fellow employees, family, or patient. And it was amazing to me that I needed to repeat it as often as I did before it took hold. It was also equally amazing the number of times I was asked permission to provide that kind of care…and the number of times I had to tell someone that they needed no permission from me or anyone else to provide it…just do it.
Yes, death has a way of hauling us up short. It forces us to look outside of ourselves. It creates unforgettable experiences that ground us outside of ourselves and bring out the best in human thoughts and behavior, even if for a few hours or days. In many ways, death is a blessing for the living. Oh that we would maintain the kind of grounding and humanity death provides for more than just a day or two!

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