I went to a funeral for a home on Saturday. This was a community organized event to celebrate the life of a home before it was torn down. They crowned the home with flowers, and the dump truck was decked out like a coffin. A gospel choir sang. A community sat on white seats in the burning sun, listening to testimony of the life of this house, and of the community it was in. There were preachers, family, and poets.
One line they kept saying was “Plan, or be planned for.” It was the theme of the entire event. You make a plan for yourself or someone will make a plan for you – and you might not like what they decide.
The music, poetry, and speeches moved me. We often say that funerals are for the living, not the dead. It’s to help us come to terms with our loss, to allow us space to mourn, and to connect us with others who feel the loss.
But one thing about funerals that’s not often discussed, is the way it makes us reflect on our own lives. Knowing that our time here is limited, being reminded of that fact, is what we are doing what we really want to do? Is this our true ambition? Are we traveling the path we want to be on? When we look at this persons life, the whole of it, do we see a story we want for ourselves?
It can be so easy in life to just go along with what comes along – to take work as it finds you, to float along in gentle agreement with whatever comes your way. To fail to plan, and just let the stream of life carry you along.
But we must plan, or we find ourselves planned for.
When the crane crunched the top of the house, and placed the roof in the coffin, it felt sad, dramatic, and right. Let’s all make a plan for ourselves, before we are crowned with flowers.