The funeral service is more than half an hour late. It still hasn’t started. I have been sitting in this pew for an hour because I got here early.
Unfortunately, I have eaten something that doesn’t like me and my guts hurt so much I can barely sit still from the pain.
The man next to me is from my old Multilevel/Networking life. I have known him for more than 25 years. He sniffs up the drip from his nose, leans toward me and says, “I am now 83 years old.”
I tell him that is amazing and that I will never catch up to him.
He takes a moment, looks me over, then says, “Ummmm. Give it a few more days.”
No one should be told this at a funeral!
I am here to honor a woman friend from my networking days. She’d had a lovely dinner out with family, tripped on a step while leaving the restaurant and died from the fall when she hit her head.
My pain grabs and shakes me. Sitting down makes it worse. When will this funeral start? I have to get through it, somehow.
I gaze at the people around me. Most are MLMers. Old ones. The men all look like preachers. Why is this? They have the same Famous TV Preacher Hairstyles; boldly ratted up, combed over, puffed out and hair-sprayed against adversity.
They also have the same glad handshakes and hearty laughs while busy being Best Friends to every person they meet. Each person might be a recruit for their networking business. Ya’ never know.
I love these people. I was one of them, for years.
Finally, the service starts. Eeeh gads, I hope my guts can last.
A man plays a slow guitar as we reflect on the deceased.
Please God, move this service along.
Next, they show a video of my dead friend. It’s re-run three or four times over.
A sister of the dead woman comes up and gives a loving talk then collapses in tears on top of the podium.
Now, there’s trouble with the microphone.
Finally, the preacher hops on stage. He has known my friend for 30 years, which is nice as it makes his talk more interesting.
God, I hurt.
The preacher is extolling my friend’s virtues as he says, ” And as you know about ‘Carol’ she never had a kind word to say about anyone.”
This remark hits the floor suddenly, like a sack of loose potatoes.
We know what he meant to say and we all turn our faces up to the preacher like baby birds as we mouth ‘un-kind word’ as he grabs the verbal ball from us and recovers.
This funeral is fun. But, I know I am going to have to leave. I am feeling so sick, I know I have to get up and walk out… but when? I could have done it during the video but I didn’t. They didn’t turn the lights off.
I couldn’t walk out while the sister was talking. How un-feeling would that be?
And, now the preacher is hoisting his hefty bible and flipping pages. I know what will happen, next. I have been to enough church funerals to know.
This particular church is very fundamental and I know what we’re going to hear. We’ve just heard 20 minutes about the deceased and her good deeds. The rest of the service will be devoted to our personal salvation. The party for my friend is over. She will be ignored and forgotten as the preacher is now personally committed to saving our souls, recruiting us for God and that will take another good hour!
Oh God. I can’t sit still a minute longer. I have to leave. But how? How do you get up in the middle of a funeral as the preacher is talking and walk out on him? What kind of statement is that?
Once, my mother went to a funeral for an old man she knew named Mr. Badger. Mr. Badger had no use for religion and often said so. He thought religion was the work of the devil.
Too bad for Mr. Badger. When you die you get no say so over your funeral, even if you have left directives. Mr. Badger’s wife was very religious and Mr. Badger got a hell fire and damnation service.
Mom told us kids that she was sitting in the church, sort of dozing a bit as the preacher stood near Mr. Badger’s casket. He ranted on, she said, about hell, the devil and Mr. Badger.
The preacher got so involved in heaven and hell and bringing all the sinners in the audience to the Lord ‘before it was too late’, that he banged and slapped his hand several times on the casket.
Mom said when that happened she saw Mr. Badger rise up out of the coffin and shout, “What the hell is going on here!?”
Mom was startled and looked around her. Surely someone else must see and hear Mr. Badger? But, no, no one seemed to.
The rest of the funeral featured the preacher screaming about the audience frying in hell if they didn’t repent and Mr. Badger screaming for him to shut up, that he didn’t believe in that shit.
Mother was shaken when she came home.
Why do some preachers turn the deceased’s farewell party into a recruiting bonanza? No one dares leave the funeral and the man has a captured audience for as long as he wants.
I think it’s rude for a church leader to turn his back on the dead and do business. It ain’t right.
I’m thinking about this as Carol’s preacher launches into his topic; that any of us who aren’t saved will perish and that we need to reflect on this as we will all be dead like Carol, maybe sooner rather then later. Laid under the ground for the worms to eat. Fodder for maggots.
Oh my God. I can’t sit for another hour. I haul my heavy purse up from the floor, stuff my sweater in it, stand up, turn and walk the long church aisle and scoot out the door.
All eyes are on me.
All the people seem to be thinking, “How can she walk out on the preacher! How can she get up and walk out of a funeral!
I am mortified. Everyone has their own belief systems and whatever it is, if it works for you, I say it’s good. After all, you may be right.
I slink out the church door, kind of hunched over from the pain. I’m sweating with embarrassment.
Now, I’m safe, sitting in my car, recovering from my audacious move and all the thoughts that followed my abruptly leaving the service. Then, suddenly, in my mind I think I hear more than a few people whisper after my departure, “You lucky devil.”
Oh well. If those people feel that way but are too decent to leave, they can soldier on with the service and look forward to the meal after it. On my way out, I saw trays of frosted doughnuts, iced cookies, cakes, pies and platters of catered roast beef, quivering jello salads and rich cheeses.
I may have given up my chances in the After Life but I will also be missing a good meal.
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