You know it’s coming, the beginning of Fall, as the days lose sunlight more quickly, leaves begin to fall, and the inevitable “We are going to lose Daylight Savings Time now” said by adults who’ve enjoyed the extra hour of daylight for errands (or golf!).
To little children, though, the end of the month of October means excitement, costumes, and candy. What was your favorite character, or what person did you dress up like for Halloween?
Being seen as someone different than we are is a fun fantasy, isn’t it? People see us every day and they expect us to look the same, speak the same way, and we’re basically predictable. As children, we love wearing a mask and making adults guess “who we are” if the costume doesn’t show it already. I was thinking about that this week. When people see each another, how much of the soul inside the person do they see? What shines through?
Of course, Nov. 1 is All Saint’s Day, or All Hallows’ Day, which follows Halloween or All Hallows’ Eve. Formerly a holy day of just the Catholic Church, now Anglican and Protestant Churches also observe the occasion. This Nov. 6th, many churches across town will announce the names of all who’ve died this past year. After reading the name, bells or chimes will ring. Silent respect fills the sanctuary, remembering all those saints who from their labors rest.
Every day, people see us as we are, mostly without a mask, except when a brave face is needed in times of greatest tragedy, staying strong for the sake of children who need us to project calm. People see right into our souls, even when we’re not looking, by how we treat others. Most people we know battle tragedy and find triumph every week in some way. How do we want to be remembered?
Were you the kind of trick-or-treater who got candy from every house on your block or did your parents take you to local school or church carnivals? It is poignant that today’s children have more to worry about than what costume to wear. Checking candy to assure no tampering, people filling out a form in their neighborhood online if they want children to come and knock on their doors, almost takes the fun out it. But still fun prevails, and may we never get so old that we lose the joy of celebrating carefree days of childhood fun.
It’s the next day that marked the transition of my youth to my young adulthood, All Saint’s Day—the first thing that comes to mind is the hymn “For All the Saints Who From Their Labors Rest.” Saints. Labors. Rest. Life ending. That’s something my parents, my grandparents, and my great-grandparents knew best. How to celebrate a life well lived, no matter how long. I don’t know how to say it any other way but this.
It’s not a profession that you choose sometimes as much as it is a profession that chooses you. Many people have all kinds of presupposed opinions of what funeral directors are like. I guess if I had to describe my family and our profession, it comes down to the fact that we are a family who feels like you are part of our family. Therefore, when you are happy, we’re happy. When you are sad, we hurt with you, but we are strong for you. We are here to be your rock and strength to assist and guide you carefully through the days when you wonder “What will I do?” “Who should I call next?” “How do we handle this?”
You don’t learn those answers in a lifetime or in four years of mortuary school. You learn compassion as a child, following the examples of your parents and how they treat others…both in public and when no one is looking. If you’re fortunate, as I was, they were the same no matter who was looking. Genuine, caring, and compassionate. Those were the traits I saw even before they could be “taught” to me by my parents. My dad believed, as I do, that we are very fortunate to be able to have a multigenerational history here in the Brazos Valley. We’ve known many of your families for generations, too. Mutual trust and confidence in each other is why we are still in business and able to expand to our new funeral center that you’ll soon be invited to tour.
No matter how old I get, you will still find me in costume at a Halloween party, and my costume is not at all what you might expect from someone in my profession, ha. I love music and I love people, so here’s a throwback photo of a recent Halloween costume. See if you can tell which one is me! Happy Halloween to all the youngsters and the kids at heart, and may we all take time on Tuesday (and the following Sunday in church) to remember those saints who have now left us. Quietly we offer prayers of thanks for their lives having graced ours. Rest in peace, dear souls. Rest in peace.
Cody D. Jones ‘02
Owner and Community Member