27 April 2008
awaiting the train: mourning in advance
I sat and stared at the above photo for awhile.
The scene captures the funeral train for King Edward VII, the train that carried his casket to Windsor. I imagine the train approaching the station and the gathererd crowds swelling to gain a mere glimpse at the coffin of the King. I imagine that long before the train could be seen on horizon, the bystanders mourned quietly, in advance.
I have frequently found myself mourning in advance in recent days. When you think about it, a good portion of our sad emotions are really just caused by our hearts' anticipation of possible negative future circumstances.
I have mourned the loss of a loved one who is yet to exist and who may be in no danger of failing to exist after all. Yet, reality looms and there is potential for loss. So I grow quiet and I mourn in advance.
I have mourned the loss of a loved one who wasn't lost for long and who may have never been anywhere but in the hands of the Almighty. Yet, I sat in fear that his physical absence might have been a foreshadowing of something much deeper and so I mourned the loss of my friend as I knew him.
I have mourned the loss of a loved one who has been lost for so long now and yet has never really been gone. I find myself awaiting news that may never come.
I don't think it is particularly exclusive to me, this mourning. I think we all have this emotional defense mechanism, this spiritual awareness of the potential for devastation that we somehow think will be lessened if we just anticipate it. And yet all of our on personal histories have proven that idea to be false - the explosive pain brought with reality can never trimmed with a little advance planning.
No matter, we will still wait at the end of the line for the funeral train to arrive, bringing with it the grief and burdens we seem so anxious to bear.