As I posted earlier this week, Joe Hewitt died. His funeral was today. There's so much to share, but I think I'll limit it to a few things right now. I'll start with a childhood story.
Joe's brother played drums when he was little. He and Joe used to fight a lot when they were young, and one day Joe broke the brother's drum over his head. Years later when Joe had become quite the drummer his brother asked what first got him into it. Joe replied "Well, I liked how it felt when I broke your drum over your head." lol The brother still doesn't seem quite sure what to make of that.
Next, the piping. A lone piper played a lament during the service, and Portland Metro Pipe Band played as well. Not only that, but the song they played was the one they'd written for him. (Someone had to tell me that later, though, because I didn't realize it at the time.) There were quite a few emotional moments during the funeral, but that was one of the things that had me really really crying -- Joe was one of the founders of Portland Metro Pipe Band. I suspect that Joe was marching with them today, even though his body was in the casket.
Some members of Portland Metro Youth Pipe Band played with the adult band before the funeral, while people were arriving. Joe also had a hand in starting the youth band, and it seems only fitting to me that those who felt up to it were playing the adult band ahead of time.
And the last thing I'd like to share right now...
After the service, before we went to the reception, the woman who had been sitting next to me asked "Are you Wiccan?" At first I was surprised, but I guess I shouldn't have been. She's someone I sort of know, and I'm sure she's seen my pentacle pendant before. And even if she hadn't noticed the pendent before now she probably noticed the pentacle ring that I'm wearing today because I was flipping through the Bible as certain verses were mentioned (I prefer to read and hear it, rather than just hearing it), which of course would draw attention to my hands.
I told her "No I'm not Wiccan, but I am Pagan." She asked, "So, what do you Pagans believe?" That's a tough one for me! I always wonder if I should tell people what Pagans in general believe (which is difficult since there are so many Pagan religions out there!), or if I should reply with just what I personally believe, which might lead her to believe that all Pagans believe what I believe.
Ah, the joys of being part of a minority!
I wound up telling her, "Well, many different Pagans believe many different things. I'm polytheistic. I do believe in Jesus, and he's someone that I turn to, but he's not the only one I pray to." She replied "Ok, so you weren't totally traumatized by this service?" "No," I told her, "I wasn't." Hey, I do love Jesus! Yeah, I won't say the lines in the psalm that would declare him to be my shepherd, or some other things like that, but I have no problem with being at a service where virtually everyone else is saying those prayers.
Next she asked, "Then, do you believe in heaven?" I told her "I believe in a heaven-like place." "So you do believe in heaven." It was still sort of a question. "Well," I said, "I believe there are options, and that what happens depends on the individual. A person might go to other underworlds [I can't remember if that's the word I used, though...] or be reincarnated. Really, I think it depends."
A question for my Pagan followers: how do you reply when people ask you what Pagans believe? And where do you believe people go when they die?