Pause, Reflect and Hope 

Rather than everyone meeting at Elmwood Cemetery 9:30 in the morning, mom asked if we could gather at Maranatha Church at 9:00 and drive to the cemetery in a funeral procession. Everyone lined up in the parking lot, put on their four-way flashers and proceeded to follow the hearse. We drove along College Avenue, across the Moira River, to Cannifton Road, and River Road, to the cemetery. What touched our hearts so deeply was how many people pulled over and stopped along the way. All kinds of cars and trucks and cube vans saw the funeral coach approach, turned to the shoulder and paused, acknowledging this family’s grief. One gentleman in a pickup pulled over and took off his baseball cap. Two yellow vested road crew workers stopped, and one took off his yellow hardhat and stood still while the procession passed by. Another lady walking along the sidewalk stopped walking and simply paused. I’m sure none of these people recognized our cars or knew our dad, but I’m guessing that many of them have lost a loved one themselves. It pleasantly surprised us to see Belleville, a city of 50,000 people, still practicing some small-town habits. The gesture of pulling over, of taking a moment to pause, of noticing and acknowledging another person’s grief is so small, yet received as being so large. Our fast-paced culture has a way of carrying on with life, not leaving a lot of room for pause, reflection, listening to the soul of sorrow, grief and Sabbath rest. But when people take the effort, energy and time to pause, reflect, reach out and visit, touch and speak, blessings abound through entire generations. Christian rituals around grieving and death have a way of breathing new life. Hours of visitation from hundreds of people have a way filling hearts emptied by sorrow and grief. Fellowship and food following a funeral have a way of nourishing souls, rich memories retrieved for the mind. Cards and flowers and visits have a way of reconnecting the disconnected. And pulling over on the side of a road to pause while a funeral procession passes by, acknowledges to all that there will be a time and a day, when the world as we know it will indeed stop, and Christ Jesus will return. Maranatha, come Lord Jesus, come. 

Peter Van Geest