Birthdays and a funeral. I pondered this phrase as I walked down the street. Birthdays and a funeral.
Birthdays and a funeral. Beginnings and endings. Yin & yang. Every day we experience beginnings and endings. We start a book; we finish a book. We start a task; we complete a task. Life ends; life goes on. There is a natural order to things and life is full of beginnings and endings.
But I know that one of the birthdays my friends were going to celebrate was that of one of their granddaughters who just turned 19. And the funeral was for someone much older. The memorial service I was going to was for a teen-aged boy--not much younger than their granddaughter--who took his own life just last week. There is a natural order to things and that is not the way it is supposed to be. It is widely accepted that you just don't jump to the end of a book. You're supposed to start at the beginning and gradually work your way through it. We consider it cheating when someone reads the end first. Young people aren't supposed to die, particularly by their own hands. At 17 there is, conceivably, more life to be lived, more of the story to be told or revealed, more birthdays to celebrate. We should not be "celebrating" the life he lived but rather celebrating with him the continuance of life until some other much later time. Until the task is finished, until the book is completed.
The book doesn't end when we always expect it to and sometimes it has a surprise ending. Birthdays and a funeral.