Devotional Observations

Funny things happen everywhere even funerals…

I don’t want to sound sacrilegious but I can have a warped sense of humor at times and some of the funniest things happen while at church. As a musician, I have the best seat in the house because I’m up front and can see EVERYTHING going on and I can see the expressions on people’s faces WHILE things are going on…

The processional..
The family processional is one of the most solemn times in a funeral UNLESS you are me and have to make this very serious time unserious. Here comes the family, you see some of them overcome with grief at the passing of their loved one. They come in holding each other’s hands, some weeping, some ‘being strong’ and others trying not to beat the children because all they want to do is play. You see, children will mess you up every time!! They don’t care what the scenario is… they just want to play. And here it is you have gone to Sears, got them a little suit and they ain’t having it. They looked nice when they got into the limo but something happened between getting out of the car and walking into the church. They look like they’re in the NFL and it’s the 3rd quarter!!! Btw, how did his pants get stuffed into his socks? Did you do that? Why are her shoes on the wrong feet… I know you’re grieving but couldn’t you tell that her little feet were going the wrong way? And you’re wondering why she’s walking like that…

Over grieving…
There IS such thing as ‘over-grieving’. You know it when you see it. That one person that just has to take it WAY TOO FAR!!!! It’s been a while since I’ve seen someone try to get into the casket with the deceased. One reason is that ‘the family’ already had that conversation with her at the viewing… “Don’t do it!! If you act up at this funeral… there will be another funeral next week!!!” You know… some people need that warning ahead of time. But, nowadays the over-grieving happens throughout the service. You’ll hear that one person that starts crying loudly as soon as everything is quiet or that person that gets to the casket and just faints… Why are you falling out? Y’all wasn’t even close?!? Please drag her out!!!!

Extreme Selective Memory
For some reason, people get amnesia during funerals. The floor is open for people to give remarks. You decide to compose yourself and go up to the microphone. As you begin to talk about the deceased, one can see the confusion on people’s faces like “Who is he talking about?”, “That ain’t true”, “Oh no, she didn’t!!” I remember a funeral once where the lady had passed away. The crazy part was that this lady was ‘special’. I won’t say anything bad about a deceased person and special in this case doesn’t mean, “short bus special”. But trust me… she was special. Everyone knew that she was special and people knew not to cross her. She was not shy in getting her point across and was known for some of the arguments that she’d had with people. But, her husband gets the mike and says, “We never had an argument or fight…” You could hear the whole congregation all gasp at the same time!!!

2 minutes…
It happens every single time. Comments from the friends, family and preachers… Why do we still try to let everybody talk at the funeral? Half the folks didn’t know the deceased to begin with and their remarks are to that one person in the family that they know. Talk to them later, in private!! Everybody doesn’t need to hear how you didn’t know the deceased but heard about how wonderful they were. And the preachers… We talk about people being obedient but then you tell the preachers, “2 minutes” and they take the first minute walking from their seat to the podium, the second minute talking about “How y’all gone give a preacher the mike and only give him 2 minutes” and the next 10 minutes they preach a mini-sermon!!! But, that isn’t the real problem. The real problem is that there are 20 more preachers after that one finishes that are going down that same road!!! I told my wife that if I go first… I don’t want any remarks to be given!!!

Sing your song and sit down!!
At most black funerals, the family has requested that Sis. Mary sing cousin Johnny’s favorite church song. The request is cool. Cousin Johnny having a favorite church song is cool. Sis. Mary on the other hand… well, that’s another story. How many times have you gone to a church and seen that person that has on the flashiest outfit with the biggest hat they could find? Well, that’s Sis. Mary. I was at a funeral once and Sis. Mary went up to sing her song. The first thing that she did was comment on how long the preachers were talking and then she began to tell her story of the deceased. Now, her story was about 4-5 minutes. Then she decided to sing and she did well with it at first. But, near the end of the song, she kind of went into the “I’m Gonna Git You Sucka” mode of ‘When the saints go marching in’. But, here’s the part that got me. After she sang her song, she went and changed into her work clothes. Apparently, she was like a home health aide or worked in nursing. But, she went from this very bold black dress with diamonds/studs, big black hat with her stilettos on to wearing bright orange patterned scrubs, light blue pants and white sneakers!!! But she went back to her seat in the choir stand!!! She changed into her work clothes but she never left!!!

The Eulogy
The service has officially run way too long and the mortician is in the back pacing the floor. But, the eulogy still hasn’t been done. The children are restless. Now, everybody in the room starts coughing at the same time. Why is that? It seems that everyone gets something caught in their throat simultaneously. The anticipation of the message has finally arrived. There are two kinds of preachers in this case. The first one preaches to the people and brings reality, comfort and humor. I like this preacher and most people do. He is able to bring smiles to the people and still tell them about Jesus. The second one tries to preach the deceased into Heaven. Unfortunately, JuneBug may not be going there since he committed a triple homicide before he committed suicide but we try to put him in Heaven anyway.

The cemetery…
If the funeral is being held between November and March, please dress for the weather. There is nothing more comical than watching people try to avoid the wind at the gravesite. Guess what? There is no avoidance! There are no trees, the buildings and telling everybody to come closer into that little tent is a bit futile. I was at a funeral and it seemed that almost every woman there had on a mini-dress. There’s nothing wrong with that but you might want to grab a coat!! One lady had on her mini-dress and a fur shoulder wrap. It’s 28 degrees out here!!! Needless to say, she didn’t even make it to the preacher finishing his prayer. She was almost running back to the car! The other thing is wear the appropriate footwear. Nine inch heels and mud don’t match!! This is not the time to be cute! Fellas, we need to go ahead and those little plastic slip covers for our shoes, too. It’s okay… Better yet, why don’t we all just put our sneakers on?

Finally, let’s feed the family…
This is the one time of the funeral that I try NOT to be a part of. Don’t get me wrong, I will ask for a plate to go but I’d rather not sit around eating after the funeral. But, that doesn’t stop the observations tho… Generally, the food at a funeral is good, very good. Then again, considering that between leaving the house, the funeral service, the cemetery time and actually getting served… it may have been a solid 4-6 hours since you last ate!!! At this point, you could eat a PB&J and call it gourmet!!! But, watching people and their meal selections is always interesting. If all of the plates are made the same way, then why are people trading plates? “That piece of chicken looks bigger than mine, let me get that”, “I don’t really do meatloaf. I’ll trade you my ham”, “Did you get a piece of that German Chocolate cake? Bro. George made that cake you’ll want to get a piece!!” These folks should be on Wall Street with all that trading!!! Now, Big Poppa has about 4 deserts and 3 pieces of chicken. Lil Momma has given all of her food away and is left with green beans. Junior is looking at an overflowing plate because Big Momma put everything that she didn’t want on his plate. And Big Sis got her plate and said I’m going to McDonald’s.

My condolences to all of the bereaved. Funerals are a serious occasion but you know they are a part of life. Life is filled with many high points and low points. The greatest thing about it is that if you try, you will find the humor in any- and every- thing. It is a task but life is to be enjoyed and not just suffered thru. Let’s focus on the things that matter…

I love you ALL!!!
Stay Blessed,


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