what i am learning at my new job, or, i see dead people - part 1

It’s true.  I do.

I have been working at a funeral home for six months.  It’s a 180 from my last work environment.  For one, it’s 10km from my house whereas my last job was 34.  And of course, the music industry is quite different from the funeral industry.  I remain in administration (desk + chain = happy place), but my connection to the end-user is very clear in this case.

That has required a big adjustment for me.  When I worked in royalties, I had countless digital and live conversations with artists and copyright holders and had an appreciation for their art.  But I met fewer of them than the fingers I have on my hands.  It’s the life of a distribution company, I suppose.  Now, though, I am immersed in the product.  I work side-by-side with an amazing group of people who do difficult things to, with and for people that few others would dare to or even speak of.  While my duties don’t include “the basement” (cue slow, spooky, far-left black piano key tune), all of my work touches death.  Nothing is unspeakable.  We are frank, but respectful, with the inevitable.  My job has placed me face-to-face at times with people who, we both know, when we are reunited years, months, days from now, one of us will be dead.  I share thick, awkward silence with people who have lost a parent or a child or a spouse only hours ago.

There are so many fascinating things too, though.  The cultural and religious customs are plenty and curious and lovely and sacred.  Special clothing and prayers and burn-this and this-must-happen-before-noon and this-hairclip-means-I’m-a-grandchild and the-body-must-never-be-alone...fascinating.

My senses and my emotional capacity are still acclimating to the daily experiences.  I would be lying if I said that I am rock-solid and process each case perfectly in my head and heart and therefore I am a paperwork hero for the grieving.  I am still asking questions.  My eyes still bug out when I read things in files.  I still don’t know how everything I deal with at work is supposed to translate to my appreciation for my life and provisions and relationships.

I just know that God has called me to this place; discovering exactly why is a work-in-progress.

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Learn to do good; seek justice, rebuke the oppressor; defend the fatherless, plead for the widow. - Isaiah 1:17