i went to a funeral last Monday.
The sun was shining on one of the first truly summery days of the year... and i thought as i walked into the church, that this is the kind of day i would want for my funeral - where my friends and family would feel the sun on their faces as they said goodbye - and talked about the One who took me home.
And then later on, i was reading to my little ones from, "Anne of the Island", and there were a few separate passages on death that resonated with me - especially as a mama trying to teach my little ones to lift their chins... just a little... so their eyes are focused on the eternal rather than the temporal.
i think i'll record them here.
"It was sad, tragic - and true! Heaven could not be what Ruby had been used to. There had been nothing in her gay, frivolous life, her shallow ideals and aspirations, to fit her for that great change, or make the life to come seem to her anything but alien and unreal and undesirable."
"Anne sat in a pain that was almost intolerable. She could not tell comforting falsehoods; and all that Ruby said was so horribly true. She was leaving everything she cared for. She had laid up her treasures on earth only; she had lived solely for the little things of life - the things that pass - forgetting the great things that go onward into eternity, bridging the gulf between the two lives and making of death a mere passing from one dwelling to the other - from twilight to unclouded day. God would take care of her there - Anne believed - she would learn - but now it was no wonder her soul clung, in blind helplessness, to the only things she knew and loved."
"It must not go with her as with poor butterfly Ruby. When she came to the end of one life it must not be to face the next with the shrinking terror of something wholly different - something for which accustomed thought and ideal and aspiration had unfitted her. The little things of life, sweet and excellent in their place, must not be the things lived for; the highest must be sought and followed; the life of heaven must be begun here on earth."
(And then, after Ruby dies...)
"and on her face was a smile - as if after all, death had come as a kindly friend to lead her over the threshold, instead of the grisly phantom she had dreaded."
And sometimes i think about death... About the real homecoming that it will be...
At the funeral, the son giving the eulogy said that the doctor had been unable to answer his dad's questions about that transition - from life to death - to eternity... What it would feel like - ?
But then a friend came to visit, and his friend had remarked, "You know, i think it's kind of like when you were a boy - and you went for a long car ride and you fell asleep in the car - and woke up in your bed. You don't really remember those moments, how you got unbuckled, out of the car, into the house and into bed - but it was your Father - who picked you up, carried you and tenderly laid you in your bed to sleep... i think that's what it's like..."
And i guess that's sort of what i've been thinking too... But then, the comfort is all in the relationship, isn't it? The familiarity of a Father - plucking a child from their seat and carrying them to their home - is so different from imagining that transition with One with whom we've never built any sort of relationship - to a place that lacks any sort of familiarity at all, isn't it?
Neil & i keep having these conversations - about God, and the Christian life... And every time we do, these conversations keep coming back to relationship... It seems to me to be what He has always been after...
And i guess the thought of death helps me see why....