Please take a few moments to watch this short video about a man who makes coffins:
In addition to it being beautifully shot, this video strikes me for a few reasons:
As I briefly mentioned in last week’s post, I think the act of creation is a holy act. It takes time and care to create something that did not exist before. His work is holy because he is creating something beautiful to honor someone else that aids very important grief ritual. Some would say the distinguishing characteristic of human beings from animals is that we bury our dead. The ritual and work, the time and care that goes into burial is important. He reminds us here that carrying someone you love is helpful in grieving. That work signifies the fact that we are shouldering a burden.
There is a strong element in this video of the dignity in work. We can see it in his movements and how he speaks about his work. The coffin maker is proud of his craft. The work takes time, it cannot be rushed. It may have been easier to buy a coffin or urn for the baby he lost in the miscarriage, but easy isn’t the point. Convenience is not the goal. He believes that the work brings with it inherent dignity. “Work is love made visible,” he says.
While he works, he prays. His work becomes his prayer. Our work, too, becomes our prayer. We do not need to stop moving to pray. We can pray by moving our feet, and hands. Our actions can be a prayer to God.
Finally, I love how the coffin maker reminds us that death is not the end, but a doorway. He must contemplate death in his daily work more than some of us, and the fact that he can see a coffin in a hopeful way give me hope. It strikes me that I need to be reminded on a daily basis of God’s love. I have to be reminded that we are not yet home. That this is the beginning. The coffin is not the end. It is good news. It is good.
What struck you about the video?
Have you had someone close to you die? Was the burial important for you?
What work do you do that you are proud of?
If we remembered that death is a doorway, how would we live our lives here differently? How can we remember?