As I drove home from the funeral of a long-retired friend, the radio played Chopin’s Piano Sonata #2 in b-minor. The third movement, often called the funeral march, includes a theme familiar to many cartoon doom scenarios: da da-da dahhhh. Instead of writing the rhythm or the notes, listen to Arthur Rubinstein play that third movement.
Somewhat dark and driven reflection on the lives of the five people I’ve known who have died in the last week. They were three adults who were fifteen-twenty years older than I and two adults whose ages made them my contemporaries. A lot of dying in a few days. I take these deaths somewhat personally.
But again as I hear Chopin’s somber chords and melody, I give thanks for the lives of these five and the ways that they brought change into the world through industry and business and publishing and writing and ministry.
Yes, I take these deaths personally. They tell me that life is sweet and to be savored. They tell me that life is short and full of depth and intensity. They tell me that the work of transformation continues.
They tell me that life grows out of love and that life continues through love.
The dirge of Chopin ended, having completed its work. I listen now to celebratory and joyful musical expressions by John Coltrane and Dave Brubeck and the king of jazz, Louis Armstrong, and I am grateful.