Friday, 18 September 2015

Deadline Looming ? Let’s not rush the Final Journey | Funeral Celebrant

How time aware are you? By this I mean, if someone asked you for the time, without looking a your watch, how close to the correct answer would you be able to guess? Would it be seconds, minutes, hours away from the correct time ? 

Perhaps you are reading this whilst enjoying the luxury of being completely ‘time unaware’ - in holiday mode - and so disconnected that you don’t even know what day of the week it is.

I am currently wallowing in this relaxed, happy - and jet lagged - state. 
But the majority of us - most of the time - spend much of our lives under some sort of time pressure. We often hear people sigh ‘If only there were more hours in the day’ as everyone is too busy to fit everything into their hectic timetable.

When I worked on radio I was über time aware. 
Every on-air second is a valuable commodity. There were advertising slots of 20, 30 or 40 seconds, interviews, jingle and music tracks lengths to juggle with. All this adds up to lots of mental arithmetic calculations preceding each hourly news bulletin. 

After many years in front of a microphone, I had it down to a fine art. I could look at the lines of text, or a guest on the other side of the desk, and know exactly how much needed to be said to create a seamless transition to the top of the hour pips. To crash them was the show jumping equivalent of 4 faults, while a clear round - every hour- was what was required.

My broadcasting experience stood me in good stead during my celebrant training. I totally understood the importance of working with a detailed and precise running order - or Anatomy of a Ceremony. And when it came to planning and writing funeral ceremonies, bearing in mind the strict time constraints imposed by crematoria, I understood perfectly the importance of accurate timings for each and every section.

As with the radio listeners, it is also crucial that no one attending a funeral should feel even a hint of time pressure. It is up to the celebrant and funeral director to bring about this relaxed state of affairs by accurate time keeping and careful preparation. 

Like a skilled radio presenter - or a swan on the water - we must at all times appear serene,cool, calm and collected … even if our legs are frantically paddling away beneath the surface.

More thoughts on time … next time.

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