Deacon Greg pointed me towards this hysterical story today on Facebook.
As a guitarist, I play many gigs. Recently I was asked by a funeral director to play at a graveside service for a homeless man. He had no family or friends, so the service was to be at a pauper’s cemetery in the back country. As I was not familiar with the backwoods, I got lost.
I finally arrived an hour late and saw the funeral guy had evidently gone and the hearse was nowhere in sight. There were only the diggers and crew left and they were eating lunch.
I felt badly and apologized to the men for being late. I went to the side of the grave and looked down and the vault lid was already in place. I didn’t know what else to do, so I started to play.
The workers put down their lunches and began to gather around. I played out my heart and soul for this man with no family and friends. I played like I’ve never played before for this homeless man.
And as I played ‘Amazing Grace,’ the workers began to weep. They wept, I wept, we all wept together. When I finished I packed up my guitar and started for my car. Though my head hung low, my heart was full.
As I opened the door to my car, I heard one of the workers say, “I never seen nothin’ like that before and I’ve been putting in septic tanks for twenty years.”
Apparently, I’m still lost…
OK that could totally happen to me.
But I began to think about this more deeply. That man played his heart out and really offered all of himself for a man he never met. The diggers were moved, perhaps because nobody ever really notices who they are. They provide a valuable service but digging septic tanks isn’t exactly a glamorous job.
And our friend here noticed them and their work, at least in the minds of the diggers.
To add to this, our musician has the great ability to laugh at himself. He doesn’t beat himself up about it, instead turning it into a beautiful story that goes awry.
That’s probably the best version of himself.
Saints are often people who do simple things in extraordinary ways. They prod us to become all that we are and to have a great appreciation for life. And they laugh. They remind us to not take life too seriously but to bring joy to others when we can.
Where did our musician not bring joy? Maybe the funeral director might be annoyed with him because of his tardiness, but even the man he was supposed to play for can appreciate his song, even in the wrong spot.
Intention is always key. Our friend here intended to bring joy to a man who had nobody to even bury him. And instead, even his fault of lateness, can be turned into moments of joy for so many, including now us who read his words.
Today, let us ask ourselves how we might offer just a bit more joy to others, even in the midst of our own weaker moments. Amid tough weeks and difficult ventures, we need to take time to laugh at ourselves.
And when we do, we find deeper experiences of God…who stands there with us laughing.