Sunday, May 23, 2010

On Mortality

On Understanding Death

"First, understand that death is not an end, but a beginning; not a horror, but a joy. It is not a closing down, but an opening up.

The happiest moment in your life will be the moment it ends.

That's because it doesn't end but only goes on in ways so magnificent, so full of peace and wisdom and joy, as to make it difficult to describe and impossible for you to comprehend."

-Neale Donald Walsch

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I'm not sure that I believe all of this, but a lot of it sounds really nice, at least for the person that dies. But what of the levels of sorrow faced by family and friends left behind?

This morning I arrived early for church as it was my week to serve as an usher. I saw overflow chairs set up at the back of the sanctuary, and I naturally asked my new usher partner what they were for. At this point she gently told me that they were for a lady's memorial service that was held yesterday. This lady was my former ushering partner who I had just seen a few weeks before. I knew that she had been sick again, but I didn't expect this, so quickly. I will always remember Carol's bright smile.

Hearing of someone's death makes me think about the brevity of life, and making sure that the people you deeply care about know that you in fact do care. And to not take these friendships and relationships for granted, life can be short.

What do I think happens after we die? I am very comfortable in replying with a resolute "I don't know." Maybe it is so that just as we are born from God we return into God. Maybe we come back and live another life. I don't know. But my thoughts on the afterlife are not based on fear whatsoever, just as I try to live a fearless life.

...Let someone know today that you love them.