Out at the graveside, I noticed a little boy, maybe six years old,
who had snuck away from his extended family seated under the tent.
Everyone else was focused on the pastor, but poet Mary Oliver claimed
the sun is the best preacher ever, and the light was beaming down
from the blue sky at an angle, casting the boy’s shadow over a patch of grass.
Real grass, not the AstroTurf the funeral home had spread out behind him.
As I watched, the child waved his arms to make his shadow move like
an inflatable balloon guy. His grin was brilliant. His wiggle slipped into
his neck and shoulders, and pretty soon this kid was grooving to the
beat in his head, his shadow matching his every funky dance move.
I get it that not everyone feels like dancing at such a time and place.
I should say that the deceased had lived a long, beautiful life with
suffering toward the end, so his passing was merciful in that sense.
And this little dude had rhythm! Maybe somewhere, somehow,
the dead danced with him in spirit, truth and love.
Watching that kid, I couldn’t help but tap my foot. And I realized that
I would love it if little people danced at my funeral. Not my children,
mind you. I hope they’ll be grown and maybe have kids of their own.
Let’s say my great-grandchildren and picture them in the old
preacher sunshine, boogieing with their shadows.