“Above all, watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you
because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places.
Those who don’t believe in magic will never find it.”
– Roald Dahl
Today I sang at a funeral. Now this is something I do more often. Normally everyone is very serious, respectful and reverent. After all, they just lost someone. But this time there was this adorable boy with Down syndrome at his grandfathers funeral. There’s so much we can learn from that boy.
He started of wanting to sit on the steps of the altar looking at the choir and the priest. Then a long talk started and he was bored. His family tried to keep him busy with an iPad with a video or a game, but that didn’t last long either. He wanted attention. On one hand he wanted to be part of the funeral, but on the other hand he found it too boring and wanted his iPad.
He stood by his mom and uncles while they told his grandfathers history. He walked to the altar of Mary with his grandma to hang a cross with his grandfathers name. And while I sang the Ave Maria he was mesmerised and just kept looking at me.
Now there’s two ways you can react to that. You can get annoyed. A noisy child shouldn’t be at a funeral mass. His parent shouldn’t have brought him, or at least kept him under control. But that wasn’t my reaction. I started to see the silliness of the situation. How rigid people can be in their idea how a mass should go. This little boy is a child of God too and if you only open your heart just a bit, you will see that he in his way is coping with losing his grandfather. When the casket leaves the church he thinks they are leaving without him and they have to wait for him to walk along. They can’t take his grandfather out without him!
What that little boy taught us today is that sometimes you just have to let go of traditions and rules so that everyone can cope with their grief in their own way. The world doesn’t end with a little boy running trough the church. How better can life be summed up by a casket and the sound of running children’s feet in one space?