How’s that for a headline. It’s true, even though it’s far from the NY Times list.
We are just returning from the All American Council of the Orthodox Church in America held in Seattle, Washington. This is the triennial meeting of the national church to conduct the business aspects of the church. We were very happy to be able to help the Monastery of Saint John of San Francisco afford a booth at the AAC. They brought a lot of their bookstore goods for sale to attendees including A Christian Ending. Two fine young monks, Brother Sophrony and Brother Jude drove from northern California with a truck load of books, candles, incense and other fine items that they sell on-line. To this point our relationship has proceeded through email. It was a pleasure to finally meet these very happy and friendly young men in person. On the first day they told us that A Christian Ending is already their best selling book of all time after only a few months. It’s not the NY Times bestseller list by any means but, coming from our publisher it made us feel pretty good.
Throughout the week, sales continued to be good. Every time we went by the booth they were busily boxing goods for shipment. They recouped their costs the first day and were still doing well the last day of the convention.
We spoke with many people who had read the book. All of them were very complimentary. It seemed that nearly everyone had heard of it. We heard numerous humbling comments about what an “important” book it is. We also heard a lot of comments like, “Oh you’re the ones who wrote the book on death and funerals.” It was all very flattering to hear. We had several opportunities to consult with people facing current needs or anticipating future ones. Several asked if we are available for speaking or workshops and, of course we are available for both. We also met several people who were either Orthodox funeral directors or related to one.
I guess the verdict is still out on how the funeral directors will receive our book but so far there have been on problems. We’ve been warned and we’re braced for any blow-back that may come from the profession.
However, there is really no reason for them to feel threatened by such a small book. Simply from a business and demographic standpoint, the impact of our book, even at the best would be only a tiny fraction of their business. Everyone must die, but only a few will read our book. Even those few may still choose to use a funeral director to handle all but the preparation of the body for burial. Besides, funeral directors across the country are beginning to get on the “Green” burial bandwagon. Like so many other businesses, they are advertising how green they’ve become. We have used our local funeral director many times ourselves. Only once have we attained the ideal for an ancient Christian burial. That was for my mother.
She died in her bed in our home. We washed, annointed and dressed her in the same bed she died in. Then we carried her to the living room (parlor) where we placed her in the casket. We held vigil there that night. In the morning, her grandson’s came with a rental van and carried her to the church. After the funeral service they dove her in procession to the monastery in Wagener, SC, about two hours away. There we sang the graveside service, lowered her into the grave and filled it ourselves. May her memory be eternal.