It seems like there’s been a wave of death around me lately — which I guess is understandable, given recent events. It began a couple of weeks ago with the death of a friend’s son and then recently, quite unexpectedly, another friend’s husband. Follow that up with the death of my dentist’s 15 year old son on Valentine’s Day and an old family friend shortly thereafter and I think the quota has been met for now.
One over-dosed, 1 died from complications arising from a flu shot and one was apparently (heard from a friend) a suicide. The last was more a matter of old age than anything else, I suspect. Meditating on this chain of events reminds me that we all enter this world pretty much in the same way — but how we leave it depends quite often on the decisions we make while we’re here.
A long time ago it was explained to me that this life was a sort of classroom with a custom curriculum just for us designed by God to teach us lessons we are lacking in or need to know to prepare to embark on a new and wonderful spiritual life. Some beliefs assert that you will return again and again until you complete those lessons so you can move onto the next level. I subscribe to a Christian understanding of the meaning of life, which given the teachings of Jesus, would seem to fit well with the classroom analogy.
As I have grown older, I spend a lot more time contemplating mortality than I ever would in the invincible days of my youth. Fortunately, along with such contemplation, I have developed a sense of faith (much more loosely defined than it was in the past) in a Power greater than me and have touched into an innate sense of the eternal nature of life. Simply put: yes, there is a heaven.
February is steeped in lifelessness. The grass is brown, the trees devoid of foliage and quite often (although not so much this year in the northeast) snow lies on the ground in occasional abundance. That’s what you see on the surface, which doesn’t require much effort in examination. If you take time to look beneath that surface, however, you will find that cells are on the move once more, preparing for the herald of spring. Life doesn’t return – because it never left. Life simply takes on a new form and reveals itself once again in familiar colors and patterns. Such is the cycle of life. We are here for a short time, learn and do what we need to do (or not, that is for God Himself to evaluate) and leave for the next plane of existence. It seems so finite and so sad when those we love disembark for the next leg of their journey, and yet it should be a cause for celebration. I like to attend celebrations of life, not mourning sessions. There is plenty of time for that in the lonely periods where it is just me, my heart and my God.
Atheists can bemoan the existence of God all they want. I feel sorry for them — in what I perceive as their denial. They are so concerned about the effect religion is having on “the masses” and see conspiracies around every corner. They live in a finite world of plastic and decomposition and cannot see beyond that. How sad. Personally, I suspect there is some measure of denial and I agree with an author who stated that deep down inside every man, woman and child is the fundamental idea of the existence of God.
Think of it this way: if you spend a life in service to God, that carries its own sense of deep satisfaction. If, at its end, you discover it was all a lie, what have you really lost? You have still lived a good life -and you’re not going to know it anyway. For the non-believer, I would think that there is even a measure of comfort in that.
Either way, flesh deteriorates and returns to soil and then becomes part of something else, something new — yet the same. Death once again reveals its true nature as life. In a sense, the message of Easter offered from a different perspective. If you are interested in the message of Easter, I know just the One to share it with you.