Title: The Lively Street
Date: September 15, 2014
With time to kill, the happy gringo and gringa wandered in Quito, Ecuador’s old city, with its narrow cobbled streets and its squeezed-together, four-storied red brick storefronts. Going nowhere, they turned left or right as impulse told them, enjoying the sights and street culture of that foreign land.
Around one corner, unprepared, they encountered the street of the casket makers. For the length of a city block, on either side before them, black wooden caskets lined and narrowed both sidewalks. The caskets were piled one atop the other in tall stacks in front of every little shop. The man-sized caskets sat stacked on the sidewalk, with a woman-sized stack next, and next still were ever smaller, child-sized stacks, one casket atop the other, with newborn baby boxes at the very top. All around the dozens of casket stacks were casket makers’ children playing, laughing, running, eating, and even bouncing red rubber balls off of the stacks in games of catch.
On the casket makers’ street dying is openly part of living. Death is not hidden, nor ignored, nor feared. On those old city sidewalks, life and death intertwined.
Is death taboo for you? As a subject of open discourse, I mean. It used to be that Americans hid death behind closed doors, but now we hear advertisements on FM radio broadcasts, tastefully offering the services of funeral homes.
Let’s Pray: Dear God, you made us with a time-limited warranty. We might not like it, but we must accept it. Help us find healthy ways to talk about life, death and dying. Amen.
Today’s Thought Is: Death isn’t alien. It’s human.