I believe the last funeral I attended was in 2014. It was honoring a co-worker, someone I’d spent much time working alongside, a doorway separating our offices.
I wrote then that I’d wished I’d kept that door open more often, had more time, appreciated the moments—even the mundane, miraculous gifts of relationship.
I attended another funeral a few weeks ago. Another co-worker. Gone unexpectedly and much too soon.
We worked together the day after Christmas. We talked about the minutia of work—materials to be ordered, schedules to be made. When I learned of his loss, I immediately grieved the conversations missed. I’d wished I asked more about his Christmas, about his dogs, about his life.
I wished I’d talked more about my faith, about his faith, about the things that matter most.
There is no expectation that we become best friends or even have relationships at any depth, with our co-workers. At least, we’re to show up and work together to do a job. At best, we’re unified in diverse abilities working collectively toward a common mission, with mutual purpose.
In either case, we’re human beings with lives and stories and baggage and hurts and dreams and souls. While our work lives and personal lives are compartmentalized to some degree for good reason, they’re not mutually exclusive. We’re people. And it seems every time I lose a co-worker, I wish I’d known more of the person.
Things always slow down for a bit when someone is lost. The pace lessens as we pause to examine the colors of the sunrise, notice the unique characteristics in the faces of our children and realize that the conversations with our parents aren’t forever.
And then things speed up.
We don’t purposefully bump up the speed of the treadmill that is life until we notice we’re sweating and breathing heavy, lamenting the racing of it all—the race we choose to run.
Author Ann Voskamp writes, “life is not an emergency.” I want to work hard, with commitment and relentless pursuit in my vocational and volunteer endeavors this year. And I want to slow the pace. To know that I do, in fact, choose when to run and when to walk. To see the sunrises with eager expectation of what God has in store and to appreciate the sunsets with gratitude and peace. To hear more about the person, to learn about their dogs.