They say two billion people watched Pope John Paul II's funeral on Friday. Two billion. Millions were there in person including dignitaries the world over. Now, that's a crowd. That's a statement. But, it got me wondering about funerals: those that attract a lot of people and attention and those that do not.
I remember some years back reading in the newspapers the obituary of a colleague of mine from years earlier. I raced to make the wake. I needn't have bothered: Virtually no one showed up.
He wasn't married: so no wife, no kids and, apparently, no girlfriend. And, from what I could see, no friends at all.
There was some relative there, sitting with his wife in what was otherwise a room of empty chairs. All blankly facing an open casket that attracted no visitors.
This man was a good man, a decent man and a caring man. But I couldn't help but wonder whether he left this world a lonely man. Maybe, even a forgotten man.
He had achieved no great things. But I remembered a lot of little things:
He'd always offer to pick up lunch when he was going out.
He was a generous tipper.
He worked very hard and died very young.
He seemed to deserve better than the measly turnout he was getting. But what did I know?
Some people's funerals are there for all to see, others for virtually no one to know.
I like to think my friend is in a better place. I like to think the pope is too. Because God doesn't much care about big things. I just hope he remembers little things.
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