Crafting a Final Resting Place (video)

Monday, July 1, 2013 - 9:14pm
Crafting a Final Resting Place (video)

A thoughtful meditation by a craftsman-philosopher who contemplates the human condition through the building of simple, hand-tooled coffins.

Commentary by:
Trent Gilliss (@TrentGilliss),  Head of Content / Executive Editor for On Being
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"When I'm out here by myself early in the morning or in the middle of the night, I can get a sense of how work is love made visible."

Marcus Daly is a maker of wood coffins, a craftsman who contemplates the human condition through the building of simple, hand-tooled boxes:

"I think one of the most important aspects of the coffin is that it can be carried. And I think we're meant to carry each other. And I think carrying someone you love, committing them, is very important for us in when we deal with death. We want to know that we have played a part and that we have shouldered our burden. So, if we make it too convenient, then we're depriving ourselves of a chance of to get stronger so that we can carry on."

This idea of work that's fulfilling and meaningful is part of many people's modern-day deliberations. I'm no different. What I love about Dan McComb's short film is its ability to speak to that struggle within myself — and then translate it to something deeper, more experiential and yet transcendent.

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Trent Gilliss is the driving editorial and creative force behind On Being. He received a Peabody Award in 2007 for his work on "The Ecstatic Faith of Rumi" and garnered two Webby Awards (in 2005, and again in 2008). The Online News Association nominated his journalistic work multiple times in the general excellence and outstanding specialty journalism categories. Trent's reported and produced stories from Turkey to rural Alabama, from Israel and the West Bank to Cambridge, England.

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10Reflections

Beautifully put. Work is love made visible for many. I cook, write a food blog (a cookbook now, too), and direct a church choir--I like to think my love is tangible in these ways. ... ... Carrying one another is a heart-in-hand tradition; my husband carried two of our babies to their graves in caskets. It was the last thing he could do for them. The wood, the wood; it's caringly chosen and prepared, prayed over, and made ready to hold our loved ones. These are bonny coffins. Carry on!

Thank you for your beautiful reply. Love is difficult and demanding in life, but in death, it demands courage and strength to carry on -- many times, courage and strength we never knew we had. May your love for your children in their final earthly journey give you and your husband peace of heart and comfort.

My Dad died 4 months ago. Watching this video is so comforting. What I love most is that this craftsman finds the process of dying and building the coffin as a doorway. And I love the notion that work is love made visible. Such beauty.

This is a beautiful meditation on life, love, death and eternity. Upon hearing it for the first time, I want to hold the wisdom of the message close to my heart. Thank you!

The arrival and departure of our physical bodies carrying our very souls and spirit into and away from the earthly realm is a special occasion. Anyone and anything that takes a part in the preparation for these 2 monumental events has taken part in The Royal Proceedings that originates in the heavenly realm and shall subsequently end there. This is indeed an honor.

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Thank you so much for this. I especially love his thoughts about carrying the coffin, "shouldering the burden" and "carrying on." In the course of my work I've designed and made shrouds, shrouding boards and coffins. I agree with him about the sanding -- I can sand, and sand, and sand... I imagine peoples' hands on the handles and want them to feel smooth. I like the soft pine, with its velvety furry feel, and see it as comforting - solid and supporting of the body and soothing at the same time. I think all artisans are this way when we make things to shroud and carry the dead, and I'm grateful because the feelings of reverence I experience carry over into the rest of my life, as well. Beautifully done, all the way around.

Zimmerman was found not guilty, not innocent.

Empty-handed I entered the world
Barefoot I leave it.
My coming, my going-
Two simple happenings
That got entangled.
- Kozan Ichikyo

What a beautiful way to engage with living the options at death during the time we find ourselves entangled here!

I do not have judgement related to this choice as a way to exit, especially since it comes from such a tremendous act of conscious creation. However, another stunning angle to share for those who enjoy following those threads of beauty woven in our entanglement is found at a lovely blog I follow:
http://smallpebbles.com/2012/08/23/an-urn-to-die-for/

And my personal choice, as described in my own words, is to become part of a bouquet of roses, hopefully decorating a fantastic dinner party as soon as humanly possible:
http://seeingm.wordpress.com/2013/06/06/murmerations-of-m-in-death-does-she-deepart/

I have just discovered your work through a link in the comments section of a friends blog and am very much looking forward to diving into the views you share here from your corner of the adventure.

Thanks for all you do living the work and then taking the time to turn and share a conversation with us about it. We all benefit as you do.

Joy on yOur journey lovely lady,
-x.M (aren)

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