ASHES TO ASHES
Ashes to Ashes, dust to dust . . . Many times I had proclaimed those words when close to ending a funeral service at the cemetery. I would read from my United Methodist Book of Worship, Pastor's Pocket Edition. My eyes fixed on the text, still peripheral vision would detect movement from the first row of chairs in the tent. That row was usually reserved for immediate family. Their already bowed heads appeared to drop down even further under the weight of hearing those words.
"Wait, wait", I wanted to cry out when it had been my turn to sit in that first row. But this was different. Circumstances gave me no choice. The postman handed me the box of ashes which I almost dropped. I expected only a little weight, but the box was heavy. Are the ashes inside an urn? I don't know. I have not been able to open the box yet. I was surprised at my own strong emotions. This box was like no other as it contained the ashes of my son. Truthfully, I should say our son. His father lives out of state. Aaron looked a lot like his father both in stature and facial features.
I carefully carried the box to the den and placed it on a chair. Now what? How long can I avoid opening the box of ashes? I was told this week about a son who had his mother's ashes. He kept them for 2 years before spreading them on a mountain. I would like to gather family and spread the ashes at Kiser Lake. It was Aaron's favorite place, second only to the library. I want to spread them. But not yet. First I need courage to open the box.
As a Pastor, we would follow the hearse to the cemetery. On the way, I would sing this song.