I was on my way to a meeting the other day when I spotted a funeral procession a few cars in front of me. It was 7:30……in the morning……Eastern Standard Time.
Who gets buried at that time of the day? Most people are not in that much of a hurry to get to the cemetery. Nonetheless, I pulled in behind the procession and followed it. I was only going as far as the Starbucks, thank goodness.
But there was something about the procession that was troubling – nobody seemed to notice.
You see, in the small town where I grew up, we were taught to be respectful of funeral processions. We were instructed to pull the car over and wait on the side of the road until the procession passed – out of respect for the deceased. And we knew that we were never supposed to pass a funeral procession. It’s not covered in driver’s ed manual but I’m pretty sure if you pass a funeral procession, your car will be haunted for for 10 years or 100,000 miles.
However, it seems that nobody follows this respectful highway procedure anymore. The other day, I watched car after car pass the funeral procession as if it was just another line of cars. Nobody seemed to care that there was a dead person in the hearse and grieving people in the cars behind it.
Finally, a driver pulled into the passing lane and blocked it so that no one else could pass the procession. It made me proud to see someone stand up for the person who died. I wish I had thought of doing that.
But, here’s my question: Are we so focused on us and our need to get to where we’re going that we can’t stop to respect someone who’s already gone? If so, we need to rearrange our priorities because one day, we’ll be in that hearse while everybody else just drives by.
So, the next time you see a funeral procession, do me a favor. Slow down and pull over. You’ll still get to your destination and you’ll show a bit of respect to someone who’s on the way to their last.