My husband is Episcopalian but I am not. A bit of a mixed marriage. Will probably convert in the near future. Right now (and I’m sure part of this is because of my geeky nature), I enjoy being an observer. It’s interesting to compare and contrast what I see with what I experienced through my upbringing. Mostly, quite similar. Every now and again, there’s a difference.
Because my husband is an undertaker, I often hear descriptions of various services. The processional, songs, readings, prayers. That sort of thing. When he explains Episcopalian funerals, I am always fascinated by the concept of a pall. Every casket is covered so he speaks of it as the “great equalizer”.
Always just assumed the pall he referenced was dark, heavy, and velvety. Quite surprised, during the funeral I attended, to see this was not the case. The casket was transported to the front of the church draped in a light-colored, embroidered, linen-like covering. If I had seen this cloth in isolation, I don’t think I would have ever associated it with a funeral. I was moved by the idea that every casket would be handled in the same fashion.
We live in such a competitive society. People strive for an advantage. Some fight or even kill to get it. Some relish the thought of being “better than” equal. For what? The outcome is the same. Everyone will eventually die. You can’t talk or buy your way out of it. That pall reminded me of that. I attended the funeral of a good man who lived a good life. He will be missed. I can attempt to be a good person and live a good life. Hope that I also will be missed but in the end, I will also die. Everyone will eventually die.
Both the pall (and death in general) are great equalizers.