MACLOVIA’S Funeral/Why Not Pray

A prayer is just a waste of breath,
Unless we speak with love,
The truth cannot be hidden,
From that searchlight up above,
And every precious moment here,
Is always on review,
We must hold ourselves accountable,
For all we say & all we do

-Elaine Marie Kolb from WHY NOT PRAY

Yesterday there was a funeral in the tiny, Hispanic community that I live in. Maclovia Fernandez, 93 years old and the oldest member of the community, died last Sunday.

Maclovia had 22 children and lived several years of her life without electricity or running water…..

MACLOVIA-LOVE-JESUSand she was was the beloved grandmother of my partner, Jody Armijo. So from a distance, I experienced the process which began a few days before she died, when she started calling all her family to come..and they did. When she took her last breath, there must have been at least 30 people in her hospital room.mac tshirtThere are only a few Anglos in this community -I’m one- and so when I went to the burial service yesterday, there were at most 5 of us and probably 200 friends and family.church:san juan bautistaCars and trucks filled the whole area around the church and there were very old people and tiny babies and everyone in between..many of them speaking Spanish.. [sorry Donald Trump..there’s a whole world out there, a better one that you can’t possibly conceive of]

I thought about the funerals in my family..so cold and impersonal. When my father died there was a memorial service at an Episcopal church in Houston…st j the dThe church was full–lots of people came but it was very formal and everyone controlled their emotions as we had all been taught to do. At one point during the service, the priest forgot my dad’s name.

Maclovia’s burial service had a warmth, a close to the earth feeling.  Many of the men, who look so tough, with shaved heads and covered in tattoos, cried openly, little children laughed and cried, 2 white doves were released as the casket was put into the ground and many, including the children, threw dirt on the grave.mac's grave:virgin close

Afterwards everyone went to the little community center in the tiny village of Ocate,post office cows and there the mood seemed to change for most, to one of to celebration. There was a huge amount of delicious food: enchiladas, Spanish rice, fresh tomatoes and a table filled with all kinds of desserts and everyone was laughing and talking and remembering Maclovia.

Again I thought back to an experience in my family : the day when my 16 year old brother killed himself.

FLIP LAST PHOTO

FLIP DAVID

Our family was in Dallas when the phone call came and we drove back to Houston where we found our house filled with people..and food but what I remember most was that no one even mentioned my brother’s name. It was a big drunken party of denial and phoney baloney [as Elisabeth Kubler-Ross would say]. I was 19 and I remember feeling totally disgusted.

So there are many reasons I’m thankful to live in this part of New Mexico which is mostly made up of three primary cultures-Native American, Hispanic and Anglo, and one of them is the opportunity to experience ceremonies like this one. As I’ve said before, I could never live in an all Anglo culture again…life would seem so poor no matter how rich in a material way, one might be..

Below is another poem/song I love from my friend Elaine Kolb which I think is relevant to all of this….an everyday remembrance.

And also 2 clips from one of most favorite movies, The Milagro Beanfield War because yesterday when I was waiting for the burial service to begin and cars and trucks were pulling up with families of old people and children, I thought of the last scene in ‘Milagro’. It’s a ceremony/celebration…not the same kind but much of the same feeling, the essence of this culture. [This  particular scene is not in these film clips..you’ll have to watch the whole film to see it.]

mac's grave:poster closeWHY NOT PRAY?
by Elaine Marie Kolb
September 13, 1984

1) A prayer is just a waste of breath,
Unless we speak with love,
The truth cannot be hidden,
From that searchlight up above,
And every precious moment here,
Is always on review,
We must hold ourselves accountable,
For all we say & all we do.

Chorus: Do it now, if it’s worth doing,
For, tomorrow may not come,
Don’t waste your time by worrying,
You know, what’s done is done,
Now, if you really do your best,
You can make it a better day,
Just stop for awhile & share a smile,
While you’re at it– stop & think–
And why not pray?

2) Now, some folks say religion,
Is an age-old, tricky game,
A business full of hypocrites,
A low-down, dirty shame,
Pretending to be kind & pure,
Yet, often preaching hate,
Just taking money from the poor,
While telling them, they’ll have to wait.

Chorus: Do it now, if you can help someone,
It’s dangerous to wait,
A crisis is a crisis,
And tomorrow could be too late,
Although the world is full of lies,
And cruel, self-righteous games,
Just don’t give in, don’t let them win,
So, why not love– & love & love,
Then, love again?

3) If we knock, the door might open,
If we seek, we just might find,
Without love’s inner vision,
Well, we all are truly blind,
Yet, when we learn to listen,
To that gentle, inner voice,
We’ll hear eternal harmonies,
We’ll all join hands & rejoice.

Chorus: Yes, we can choose to be honest,
And decide that we will try,
To do our best, whatever comes,
By always aiming high,
We can honor one another,
And be thankful for every day,
Just open your heart & do your part,
While you’re at it– when it gets hard,
Why not pray?

REPEAT VERSE #1

Final Chorus:

Do it now, if it’s worth doing,
For, tomorrow may not come,
Don’t waste your time by worrying,
You know, what’s done is done,
Now, if we really do our best,
We can make it a better day,
Let’s stop for awhile & share a smile–
Just don’t give in, don’t let them win–
Let’s open our heart & do our part–
And while we’re at it–
–hold on to faith, hope, & love,
And while we’re at it–
–believe the power of love,
And while we’re at it–
–stop & think–
–it just might help–
–it couldn’t hurt,
And when we try to find some peace,
And when we want to share some joy,
Why not– reach out with love?
Why not– reach out to love?
And why– oh, why– why not pray?

 

One thought on “MACLOVIA’S Funeral/Why Not Pray

  1. Pingback: It’s time for saying goodbye: Tilly 6/09~3/6/16 | Pooh and the Brown Piglet

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