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Those Who Go Before Us October 2, 2006

Posted by fajita in family, Grief.

The funeral for my brother-in-law was moving. I was assigned the task of creating a powerpint slideshow from old scanned photos. It was a good task for me. I liked it and it kept me busy. Besides, I was the only person who had any knowledge of technology, which frankly represents a sad state of affairs. When I am the the most technologically capable person in the house, the house needs help šŸ™‚

As I have pondered David’s death, I ahve pondered my father’s death as well. What’s the difference between life and death? It seems like a simple question on the surface – the dead are dead and the living are living – what else needs to be said?

And yet, where is David? He’s not occupying his body. We can say that he is in Heaven, andĀ I believe that is true, but how is he in Heaven? Where is Heaven? Just what is it that is going on there? Oh, I plan on going there and being with God in a different wayu than I am with God right now, but what does that mean?

I know that there are theories and theologies structured to answer these questions. But no one who comes up with this stuff has ever been dead and lived to tell about it.

AsĀ I get older and an important age like 40 is creeping ever closer, the meaning of death is changing. It is moving from the thing that will happen once upon a time in the far, far future to a thing that is only half a life away. It’s more familiar and more frightening, an inevitible fright for which I am somehow being prepared to face. It’s more mysterious and real. Death is an unusual mentor whose mentorship becomes more and more active as I age. One day, I know that I will walk with death and leave all others behind, just like David did, just like my father did.

And that is not the end. Just where is it that death will take me? Although death is an inevitibleĀ  and solitary travel companion, I tend to think that the journey, once begun, is quite short and then death leaves you alone forever. I am beginning to think that death plays only a very small, but essential role in a person’s existence – like birth. In minutes or perhaps hours, a baby is born, but then lives a life of 80 years. The birth was short in comparison, but essential to all other things that follow. I am starting to think death is much more like birth that it is, well, death.

Birth is merely a change of location. So is death. Once born, there is no return. Same with death. With birth one enters a never before known place to remain their for a long time. Is death so different?

Now, I do not believe in reincarnation, but I am starting to believe differently about death. It’s not that I long for it either – premature births are complicated. So are premature deaths. Longing for death is probably not healthy for most, but accepting it and preparing for it is probably a very healthy thing.

Oh, and one more thing about birth and death, what happens in one place has implications for what happens in the next. I want to make my life something of value for today, a benefit for the people surrounding me no matter who they are. How that affects the next life,Ā I am not sure, but I am sure that it does. I have a say in the next life today. That makes today pretty important.



1. Donna - October 2, 2006

I am sorry for your loss.

I too have asked many of the questions that you are asking. I can’t believe that God would create us and this world if our only purpose was to get to heaven. I think we have to be about kingdom business now. Is heaven a place? Is heaven a dimension? Can we really be there before He comes back? Maybe the concept of Purgatory has merit. Too many things to think about….

2. beaner927 - October 3, 2006

I’m with you guys on the questions! My biggest thought is on relationships in heaven. If there’s no marriage in heaven (as Jesus said) then what about other relationships? Will there be some people who are more or less special to me? Will we remember the people we knew while living? And if there’s no sadness in heaven, then what will I feel if I DON’T see people that I knew & loved in heaven? Yes….to much to think about!

3. Mrs. Nicklebee - October 4, 2006

That’s a very interesting comparison, death being to the hearafter what birth is to the … hereduring. (I can think of one person, Whom beaner927 has mentioned, Who has died and lived to tell about it. ;))

I’m so sorry for your loss.

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