Driving back to the office I was caught up in the proverbial traffic jam. I had turned the corner off the freeway and looked up and saw nothing but stopped cars and brake lights. I tried to look through and around the cars to see if I could tell how far away the bottleneck was. I wanted to gage how long I might be there, but to no avail. I couldn’t turn around. I couldn’t scoot over to get on to a side street to by-pass the congestion. I was stuck. There was no way out. I was going to have to wait until it cleared up.
Just as I really settled in and was prepared to be there a while the cars ahead started to move. “Ah. Good.” I thought to myself. “That wasn’t too bad.” As the road straightened out and I could see further ahead I saw the flashing lights of a motorcycle officer. He had stopped traffic at a light to allow a funeral procession to clear the intersection. We were backed up as this person’s family and friends were given the right of way to the cemetery.
The death of a person upsets so many of the routines and schedules we count on. Life is interrupted by the death of a person we value. Grief forces us to wait behind a bottleneck of emotions and behaviors. The necessity of making arrangements, and the legal requirements that we are introduced to when a person dies, grip our energy and command our attention. We are hemmed in, forced to wait in our grief.
In these times it is important that we find someone who can stop traffic for us and clear the way for us. These people come in a variety of ways. They come as the friend who brings tonight’s dinner and says, “I’ll take care dropping off and picking up the kids from school.” They come as the Memorial Counselor at Forest Lawn who aid us in navigating the necessities of making arrangements to care for our loved one. They come as the Pastor, the Imam, the Rabbi or the Priest who enters to be with us in our pain. They come in many forms and all help us to make progress through a chaotic time.
Who are those people for you? Will you share your story of someone who made room for you?