Monday, May 23, 2016

Jazz Eulogy

David Brooks recently gave an interview to Tim Sheehan (the Fresno Bee, May 10, 2016) in which he discussed his new book The Road to Character.   Mr. Sheehan writes, "the book explores America's obsession with personal traits that connote success - what Brooks refers to as 'resume' traits - as the seeming expense of the 'eulogy' traits, 'the things they say about you when you're dead.'

The interview reminded me of a funeral I attended a few weeks ago for the husband of a relative.  Because I am partially deaf, I could not actually discern what was said at the eulogy; nevertheless, I learned a great deal about his character from the service.  The mass was accompanied by a jazz trio.

Being raised Catholic, I am familiar with the format of a mass.  The funeral service had the usual components:  the processional, the offertory, the readings, the homily, the communion, and the recessional.  But they were accompanied by the upbeat music of the trio.  It transformed the service from an occasion of grief into a celebration of a man's life.  I heard later some of the things that were said during the eulogy - they fit right in with the jazz music.

It made me think about what kind of music represents my life.  If music were the only eulogy at my funeral, what would it be?

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