Namo amitabha Buddhaya, y'all.
This here's a religious establishment. Act respectable.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Two Jews and a Buddhist Go To A Catholic Funeral ...

A couple of days ago, one of our swim coaches, John Brinkhamer, abruptly dropped dead at the relatively young age of 53. I'd never actually met the man - he coached at another pool in another part of the city - but a bunch of folks on my swim team were going to the funeral, so I went, too. I sat with Ann, who is also my OA sponsor, and David, a cranky retired judge who is a blast to hang around with. The church was mobbed. It probably sat 2,000 people and almost every seat was full. We had to sit way up front because the people who want to hide in the back got there early. So there we were, two Jews and a Buddhist. Sounds like the beginning of a joke, doesn't it?

Now, I know some funeral behavior gets a little weird, but I wasn't expecting to giggle most of the way through this thing. To start with, the Catholic liturgy is almost identical to the Lutheran liturgy, and since I once ran with a Lutheran street gang, it was all pretty familiar. Not so for Ann and David. I kept slipping them cues; stand up, sit down, kneel, repeat after me. And it got pretty funny. I mean, if you think about it, all that standing and sitting an kneeling is pretty sillly if you don't know why you're doing it. Put in the position of the person who was watching the people who didn't know why they were standing and sitting and kneeling and realizing they didn't know why they were doing it, and I did, and that it was therefore silly, was even sillier. So, anyway, much giggling happened. When I was a little kid I used to hush my sister at church. Here I was having to hush two people who were quite a bit older than my sister. I hope we weren't too disrespectful. It really was a lovely funeral.

I was pretty impressed with the priest, too. I can't remember his name - Monsignor something or other - but he gave a sermon about how Christ lives in all of us and therefore John, and that it logically followed John continued to live in all of us, in our shared experience of having known him. It was a shockingly Buddhist concept for a Catholic priest.

Anyway, funerals suck as a general rule. But I actually enjoyed this one. I hope that does not make me a ghoul.

1 comment:

Jen said...

Too late, I find out that David isn't Jewish. So, okay, a Jew, a Lutheran/Buddhist and a lapsed Episcopal Babtist go to a Catholic funeral...