The Burial

It was oddly industrial.  My brother and I witnessed the burial, and just before it began, the representative from the funeral home warned us kindly that it involved a backhoe. 

A man from the cemetery fastened ropes to the stone box that they placed my mother’s casket in and signaled for the backhoe driver to lift it up.  As the casket rose from the ground it swayed, bumped into the arm of the backhoe, and then, as the machine began driving towards her grave, actually began to spin around.  It was bizarrely comical and tragic all at the same time.  An amusemnet park ride for the dead.  It was definitely cold and industrial. 

As her casket was lowered into the ground, a man stood atop it to steady it and center it into the hole.  And even though I know in my soul that my mom is elsewhere, happy, healthy, young again, the process seemed disrespectful to the shell that was her body.  But I know those performing the inglorious task were trying their best to make it OK, so I cannot fault them. 

After the casket was settled in the ground, my brother and I tossed down two white roses.  And for a brief instant I had the sensation to jump into the hole and make a big dramatic scene.  But I didn’t.  Thank goodness I am slowly learning that I do not have to do everything my thoughts say to do.  It reminded me of the few times I’ve someplace high and the thought comes to jump, and I don’t.  It was sort of like that. 

After we sent the roses down, the backhoe shovel began to slowly, and I will say, almost tenderly heap the heavy, February dirt into the hole.  I think the backhoe operator knew how difficult this was to watch for my brother and I and he really tried to make it as gentle as possible.

As I watched this process I was reminded of a poem my wife Amanda wrote when her dad’s mother died.  At that burial, her dad and the other pallbearers actually lowered the casket down themselves.  The poem she wrote is very moving and so I will, with her permission, end this post with it.



Your brothers and you are lifting

your mother from the back of the hearse

as she once lifted you

from the deep shaft of nothing,

and you are thinking “she has left me behind,”

as you left her behind and learned to live

a story she had not hoped for you. 


Around you it is weirdly warm for January,

and you are coatless before the bare trees

and your own grown children watching

like blossoms on dark stalks

beside the waiting hole. 


You are holding her body that once held you,

the wet earth smell around you like a blanket,

and carrying her across the muddy graveyard

as she first carried you when you were too small

to walk, too small to bear

something as heavy as your life. 


The casket is so heavy,

the thing  inside so light

as you lower her,        

as she lowered you,

gently to your cradle,

covering you with kisses that fell

like flowers on your face.


Copyright Joseph Anthony of the Wonder Child Blog


Moving further down

the muddied roads,

along the tiny villages

of water, the memory

drips with secrets.

Every reminiscence

cups drops of moisture

at its center.  Filtering

into the thinnest gullies,

each memory’s warm

liquidity dissolves image

after image, lovingly,

from the inside.  Until

one night, the past stumbles,

and the future rises, like

a manta ray leaping for the moon,

like a clear word sung tirelessly

all morning, like

breath into prayer, like night

into morning, loss into gain,

eternity into


Copyright Joseph Anthony of the Wonder Child Blog

All Beginnings Begin at the End

 Once upon a time a man wandered through a thick, dark forest.  He could barely see the road ahead, and he stumbled over gnarled roots and stones.  At certain times he realized he had been walking in circles when he tripped over a particularly obvious, yet small root that he kept telling himself he would step over the next time that he saw it.  And since he walked in circles he saw the root repeatedly.  Consequently, he fell repeatedly.

One day he went in a different direction.  He looked up and caught a glimpse of the sun through the web of the canopy, and began to follow that singularly radiant star.  After trudging uphill for a few miles he smiled to himself when it dawned on him that he hadn’t tripped over that pesky root.  The journey seemed a little lighter, especially because he could laugh at himself just enough to know that it was OK to make mistakes.  This idea struck him so happily that he made himself a little song about it:


“Kings and queens can never grow

Without mistakes to use as guides,

They help us know the way to go,

And gold within their heart resides.”

The fact that he had spontaneously referred to himself as a king struck another chord of joy within him and now suddenly beams of the sun shot through the trees so that with every step he took he felt as if he were on a stage in a grand spot light.  And instead of feeling nervous to be on stage, he felt like he could play, even dance.  And the dust particles danced.  And the branches of the trees waved and danced.  The birds caught up in song.  And the path itself turned golden.  And the roots from the trees lining the path were no longer obstacles to be avoided, but things to be marveled at and studied—for some of them looked like little bridges, others like monster’s arms frozen in the ground, others seemed like statues of snakes or dragons, or like sculptures of rivers.

“Indeed,” he thought to himself, “if God is King, then that makes me a Prince.  And good kings always want their princes to have the kingdom.”  And then he remembered the line: “Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.”

And that was the end, and so the beginning began.

Copyright Joseph Anthony of the Wonder Child Blog


This blog began over forty years ago.  Of course, I didn’t know anything consciously about blogs when I was three, but what I did know is: I was a seeker.  I sought after truth, safety, acceptance, love.  And I sought through many avenues and passageways: religions, addictions, relationships, therapies, and many other places to hide.  I say, “hide,” because when one is lonely, hurt, abandoned, abused, there is a yearning to find something, someone, someplace in which to curl up in and hide–anything to fill the hole inside, anything to make it OK, anything to oddly enough keep things the same.  I sought through sordid places, made many mistakes and wrong turns. And after many years of searching and suffering, I had enough—I wanted a change—a new life. 

I embarked on a path in which I didn’t have to be alone anymore.  I didn’t have to hide anymore (unless I consciously chose to).  I didn’t have to be slave to my feelings and negative beliefs and paradigms.  This path brought friends, mentors, and spiritual brothers and sisters in suffering into my life.  And slowly I learned to let them in. 

Some in this fellowship studied and lived by the writings of Emmet Fox and the 12 Steps.  I dove into these teachings out of sheer hopelessness and ended up learning to swim and play (and yes, trudge) through them—constantly discovering ways to apply them to my life.  Today, there is hope.  I have a deep and meaningful conscious-contact with the Wonder Child.  I need never feel lonely again.  The way has opened and I walk hand-in-hand with my fellow seekers.  Creativity and intuition are part of my life now.  And so is joy—the deliciousness of being alive.

One of these seekers suggested I start this blog as a way of celebrating, processing, and sharing my journey in contacting the Wonder Child.  So here I am.  And here you are.  Everyone is welcome.  There is room for everyone.  For everyone has suffered.  Everyone carries shame and guilt.  Everyone carries pain and negative beliefs and self-talk.  And yes, everyone carries within them the Wonder Child.  Let’s embrace the feelings we need to embrace and move together towards our dreams, towards God, towards freedom–towards the Wonder Child.   

Copyright Joseph Anthony of the Wonder Child Blog