Monday, February 04, 2008

Funeral Cortège

They are two distinctly different ways of perceiving. Neither is more “right” than the other. And both have an equal potential to be “wrong” in practice. They exist as a result of the innate characteristics of our organic personality and temperament types. And … if we can accept the premise that what has been designed, and created, by a Creator exercising a plan of meaningful balance and purpose … the reality of these schools of perception is something easily embraced.

What is a documented fact is that we all share an equal ability to accept the premise that we are responsible for, and are held accountable for, how we manage the daily transactions of our lifetime. The difference between us begins with the fact that over eighty percent of the human population operates from an inner understanding … neither taught nor imposed … that their accountability is judged by, and is recorded in the accumulation of possessions, achievement of status, garnering of awards, and balance of assets that are credited to us at any point in life. The Less-than twenty percent of our population, who share this world with the majority, operate from a view of their daily responsibilities that measures the worth of their enterprises by the degree to which they enhance the quality of the lives, environment, and circumstances of the world in which they live. Theirs is a much-less easy life to audit for value. For the value and merit of all that results from their lives’ engagement, is in the lives and situations of others.

My earliest awareness of this disparity in perceptions is recalled in my memory of my grandfather’s assessment, of the worth and merit of someone’s life, by the funeral cortège that followed that person’s hearse on its journey from a place of memorial service, to the cemetery. Granddad would always manage to situate himself in a place that afforded him the ability to count the number of vehicles (a number that he would remember and quote to you on any later recall of that persons passing away), and the intrinsic value of those vehicles (so that the evident status of the deceased could be estimated.) This accounting, was to him, a fair means of estimating the value of that persons life on earth. How many, and of what station … this was what meant merit to him. And I always felt a cold and distant sense of alienation from him in those moments of his sharing of his estimations.

Do you see? He was of the majority perception. And I of the minority. But I did not, until much later in my life, know that such distinctions existed. So, I was left to always feel that I was defective … lacking … failing in my ability to see life realistically and responsibly. For, in my estimation, to see the attendees at a memorial service, for one who has departed this plane of eternity, with tears of sadness accompanying smiles of recollection of, and appreciation for a life meaningfully lived … would be the signs of that life having been invested well and successfully. Even if all of those attendees came to, and went from, that memorial service … on foot.

So, Granddad and I did not engage in any conversations about such matters. For, to him, my views would have seemed quite flighty, unrealistic, and irresponsible. And, because of his station as the Authority and symbol of what we, as a family, were to aspire to … I would have felt foolish and without merit in my estimations. Yet, we shared a love and respect for each other that, while sometimes strained, endured until his parting in his ninety ninth year. (I did not attend his memorial service … he understands.)

I share these thoughts with You, My Dear Reader, to open the eyes of your awareness … hopefully earlier in your pilgrimage that it was my experience to know. So that you may benefit from an understanding of this small slice of the diversity in life perception that our Creator wisely instilled in us … the Created. There is a marvelous balance here. The Accumulators and Measurers of the population maintain a healthy commerce and trade in all of those things that make comfortable living possible for us all. Whilst the Givers and Healers contribute those elements that enhance the spirit and quality of our shared environment. In the knowledge that we all have a particular, meaningful, and appropriate place in each others’ lives … I am peacefully pleased. I do hope that my sharing of this thought does the same for you today.


Laura said...

You see! I'm away for awhile and something pulls me back ...always for a reason. Before I go on, I must say that I do understand your thoughts and what you mean. But this posting somehow breaks my heart...because, you see, I don't recall Grandaddy to have been such a superficial person (now Nana...yes). But then...I came along later and worshipped him so, being the youngest girl and all. I have to tell you that I could tell that it broke his heart not to have you around...when we would have those chance meetings after church at Morrisons. I would ask him why you weren't around at family get togethers anymore and I could see the sadness in his eyes.

But had you come to his service, you would have seen that the large sanctuary at Idlewild barely had enough room for all those who attended and I was awestruck as we drove to the cemetery and the number of cars (nearly all) that pulled off to the side of the road as we passed with people literally standing outside their vehicles with their hands over their hearts, as if they knew this great man who I am so glad to have had as my Grandaddy. And I miss him so very much every day, as much as I miss my own Dad. I know that you know he loved you very much too :)

Love ya Cousin!

John-Michael said...

Ahhh, My Dear, Sweet Laura... You will never hear me say )for it would not occur to me to be true) that Granddad was a "superficial person." To the contrary, he was steadfast and true to life (and here is our point) as his personality, temperament, and life experience interpreted life's elements to him. We simply saw the elements of life differently. And I am certain that you were never made privy to those intimate conversations that he instructed his eldest grandson (me) with. We (you and I) share a love for him. This is in no way altered by view point or perception.

And I do love You, Dear Laura, as well and "Welcome Back Cousin!"

Laura said...

I should blog when I'm tired, lol! My meanings with typed words don't always come across as meant. And here I am, barely awake attempting again, lol! I wanted to point out two things...1) To let you know how I saw his love for you and 2) the irony of how he spoke that a person's wealth and stature in life are shown by their funeral procession, when by seeing his own, one would have thought he was an "Accumulator", lol! Am I making any sense? Oh, Laura...go have another cup of coffee! LOL!

John-Michael said...

You are such a Sweetheart!! My gosh, I sure do love you!

And I think that I will join you for a cup of that coffee.

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