Are We At A Crossroads?

Several years ago, I came across a motivational poster that stated: “The Best Way To Predict the Future is to Create it.” I liked the idea so much that I bought the poster and it hangs in a place so that I see it and read it’s words several times a day. Today, we are at a crossroads.

Crossroads take on many forms

For most of my career, I lived by the words, holding onto traditions while providing goods and services to satisfy the needs of our client families. That philosophy served me well as I helped solve the problems of those who had been impacted by a death..

In a few weeks, I will celebrate the fact that I have been working in funeral service for thirty-two years. I have to say that except for the fact that we still have dead, human bodies and crying relatives, very little is the same that it was when I first walked into the Rezem Funeral Home in Irvington, NJ in June of 1978.

Just like the firespotter’s tower was once the state of the art in protecting villages and forests, a compassionate personality with a knack for details, working in a funeral home used to be good enough to be an “expert” funeral director. If you read a few books and attended a couple of work shops, it was quite possible that you were on the proverbial cutting edge of death care.

A aging monument to vigilance

Today, the undertaking landscape is quite different. What once lasted three days, was reduced to three hours and has further eroded to thirty minutes…on a good day. Our funeral customs, as old as time itself, now mirror other changes taking place in our society. Surely I don’t want to venture into the political arena, but if anyone viewing this column ever read Gibbon’s “Decline & Fall of The Roman Empire”, you can’t help but notice the similarities.

As I look down the path of our future, I can only see a short distance before the tracks are lost in the trees. I will continue doing my job…helping hurting people and reverently caring for the dead. I suppose there will always be a need for those that undertake the job that few want to do, but a growing segment of society has no use for what we represent and how we serve and care for our communities. A very wise, white-haired mentor of mine once told me, “Healthy psychology dictates meeting life’s problems head on”. For a couple of thousand years, we held the outstretched hands of those dealing with the problem of death. Today, we often find ourselves observing families do all they can to avoid the problem. They simply want us to dispose of the body of a loved one so they can get back to their lives. That saddens me.

About Ray V.

Living between Aiken & Nashville, TN, USA, I like to share what I am looking at, thinking about or listening to. I refer to this as the view out my window. Thanks for stopping by.
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