People feast during death. At least here in the South, we do. Give us a funeral, and we show up with food. Lots and lots of food.
Go ahead, joke about funeral food. The fried chicken, deviled eggs and potato salad. The Bundt cakes and biscuits. Even that mysterious casserole from gray haired Miss Fannie. It may have an element of humor or even seem cliché, unless you are in the midst of it. Then fixing food feels like the most important thing we can do, almost as important as life and death.
We gather over the meals. We congregate and converse. In death, it is a way to bond over our shared grief. There is something about feeding the body when we can’t do much to heal the soul.
This week, my church family was dealt a blow. Our pastor’s wife died on Tuesday night. It was unexpected, which made it more shocking. Less than 24 hours after she died, I delivered chicken fajitas and Doritos (true comfort food) to the preacher. And I’m still cooking for the meal after the funeral. It is just what you do. That’s the easy part.
But why do we wait for death? Why don’t we feast on life instead?
Feasting doesn’t require a smorgasbord of funeral food. All it takes is a little action on our part.
Have a picnic for supper. Call your elderly neighbor and just let them talk. Let your nephews play with the Play-Doh that has been at your house forever but remains unopened because it will get everywhere.
Figuring out how to take that same mentality of feasting in death over to living life fully is the hard part. I don’t want to let my nephews play with Play-Doh because I know they will make a mess. It will be a huge mess. But I won’t always have the opportunity to play with those little boys. They will grow up and no longer want to play. I’m not guaranteed tomorrow.
We have to seize the moments. We must fully live life now because some day, people will feast at our funeral.