It’s been 30 straight days since I’ve had a day off.

Work has never hurt me.  Good work is fuel to the body and soul.  And the funeral business is good work.  It is meeting needs that only you – as funeral director – can meet.  It’s easing an otherwise impossible task for the bereaved.  It’s so good that many directors marry this business.  It’s easy to marry this business.

To commit to it as your first love.  It’s easy to pledge your heart to this one thing and no other.

It’s easy to let your own family take second in your priority list.

It’s easy to allow your personal life to get swallowed up by the voracious appetite of death care.

Like many other businesses, if you don’t marry it, it begs.  It begs for your attention.  Your time.  It begs for your heart.  It begs for your soul.  It begs for you to miss your kid’s games.  It begs of you to skip the date night with your special someone.  It begs you to miss church.

This business will take you and romance you into believing that you … YOU are THE ONE … the only one who can meet the needs of the family.

And I’m afraid that one day I’ll give up and concede.  I’ve been in this business for 10 years now and if feels like it’s becoming less and less “what I do” and more and more “who I am.”

And I have nothing against committing to a job for a lifetime; my problem is having my sense of freedom erode day by day.  The more I become embedded, the harder it will become to “get out” … if I should ever choose to “get out.”  Will I eventually marry this business and sacrifice my dreams to earn a Ph.D.?  Will I become like so many others and just let this business take my soul?

It’s not the hard work, the late hours, the fact that I didn’t get done working until 1 AM this morning … it’s the fact that it’s slowly eating away at me.  I’m becoming this business and this business is becoming me.

I love caring for families, helping them walk through the valley of the shadow.  I enjoy putting my heart into this business, but I won’t give it my soul.

I haven’t married it.  I won’t marry it.  I won’t let it define me.

And this is why:

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