I had seen many funeral processions in my life. I had been a part of many funeral processions in my life. Even so, I had never been the one in that car. You know the one. The first in line behind the hearse. The one that is supposed to be a distinguished place of honor. And then, I was. My husband and I were to be exact.
I can remember sitting in the car and watching the Funeral Director carry the casket to the hearse (which was just a Suburban). It was so wrong. There should be six or more pallbearers carrying the casket, but it was just her. One woman was strong enough to carry the casket with our sweet Jael. She opened the back of the Suburban and slid her little casket in. She closed the hatch and walked to the driver's side. It seemed so unreal. So unfair. So un-normal.
We turned our headlights on. We put the sticker in the windshield. We waited. For a moment, life stood still. And I liked it. Everyone was waiting on her, on Jael. Finally, it felt like the world had stopped moving to recognize this little life that was so important to us. Then, the procession started.
We crept along, as we should. The police escort made it feel like we were distinguished. It made it feel like she was important enough for everyone to get out of the way. It made it feel like everyone else should stop what they were doing and watch as this child's body was transported to it's resting place.
Except that they didn't stop. They kept driving. Not everyone, some pulled over. Some stopped to watch. But there were those who just kept on doing. It made me so mad. How could the world continue on when my world was crashing in? Didn't they know what had just happened? Didn't they understand that a mother and father should never have to be in that car? Didn't they recognize that this procession was important? I wanted the entire world to stop with me. To mourn with me.
I have since developed a new respect for processions. When I see one, I immediately begin to pray. I pray for the people in that car. Most of the time, I know not the names of the people or the circumstances that have placed them in that car, but I pray just the same. I take a moment for my world to stop and recognize them, if even just in my prayers.
There is another procession that I plan to take part in someday. A heavenly procession. A procession where, if there were cars involved, I would hope to be in the distinguished car of honor. You see, I want there to be a procession awaiting me in heaven. One filled with people I have loved. One filled with people of which their names I do not even know. People who have come to their heavenly home before me because they were touched by Jael. People who have become dear friends with Jael in heaven. People my daughter has been waiting to introduce me to.
I hope that it is one extraordinary procession. I hope it goes on for miles and miles and people stop to recognize. Not recognize me though. Christ. To recognize that this procession is all because of Him. That we are there because of His sacrifice.
One triumphal procession. With music. And when we reach the destination, I want a celebration like no other. Not a casket to bury. Not tears to shed. Not little chairs and a tent to sit under. I want the biggest party ever seen. Not a sad soul in sight. Not a single soul going about their own lives. All souls singing praise to the King of Kings and Lord of Lords who has brought us together for such a celebration as only He can do!
"But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of him. For we are to God the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing." 2 Cor. 2:14-15