As a fairly decent singer, Darlene Edwards was asked to sing at many events — both happy and sad. Recently, she was approached by a funeral director to sing at a graveside service for a homeless man. He had no family or friends, so the service was to be at an out-of-the-way cemetery an hour away outside a small farming community. She eventually lost the GPS signal for her map application on her phone, and not being familiar with the area, she quickly got lost.
Darlene followed what little direction she was given and finally arrived at a small gravel parking lot …an hour late. She did not see the funeral director around anywhere and the hearse was nowhere in sight. She sighed and felt badly. The poor fellow was laid to rest without friends, family, or music. About to leave, she saw a digging crew stopping to eat a late meal.
Feeling like she had to do something, Darlene apologized to the men for being late and walked a few feet past them to a deep hole and mound of fresh soil. She looked down and saw a very non-descript vault was already in place. Just the kind of thing she expected to see. There was no tombstone, yet. She didn’t know what else to do, so she started to sing.
The diggerers put down their meals and slowly gathered around. They seemed truly touched by what they were witnessing. This gave Darlene the courage to sing her heart out. Thinking of this poor, lonely, man, her voice reached up to heaven seemingly causing a break in the evening clouds. The last rays of the evening sun broke forth and shone one more time on the grey box in its earthen resting place. It was as if the angels, themselves, were joining in.
Ending with ‘Amazing Grace,’ the workers raised their voices with hers. In the end, Darlene was wiping away tears; as were the diggers. Hats were over hearts and some were even holding hands as the sky became dark and dusky and the air fell silent, once more
When Darlene finished she pulled a tissue from her purse, wiped her eyes, blew her nose, and started for her car. Though her head hung low, her heart was full.
As she opened the door to her car, she heard one of the workers say, “I have NEVER seen nothin’ like that before …and I’ve been putting in septic tanks for twenty years!”
Somewhere in heaven, that homeless man is laughing his ass off.