It is only 25 days into the New Year and already, the news of four deaths within my church family has reached my ears. On Monday, I will attend my second funeral of the year. It should be my third, but I was out of town and missed one. Already I am wondering if this year will be a repeat of 2009, when I stopped counting the number of funerals I attended when it hit 30 and we were only in June, with six months remaining in the year.
Death is a part of living, and I have reached that age where it is inevitable that I will experience the passing of my parents, my friends’ parents, my aunts and uncles – blood related and heart-tied, seasoned saints and other elders in my life. It’s a reality and foregone conclusion. It is just a fact of life - and on some level, I accept that, but that doesn’t mean I have to like it.
I don’t have to like the fact that I can never pick up the phone and hear that voice again. I don’t have to like the fact that I will walk into church and never hear that booming voice or see that wide smile or feel that gentle handshake ever again. I don’t have to like it – but I do have to accept it as a part of life.
Acceptance. Easier said than done. However, as with all things, I have a choice. I can either spend the next few days wallowing in the morass of sorrow that threatens to overtake me when I think about the souls gone and departed. And there have been moments when that is all I want to do: go crawl in a corner and just have a good ole-fashioned, ugly, mess up all the makeup, don't even try to come and take a picture, cry. Yep, I could do that. Or, I can cherish the memories of the good times we had together on this side of heaven – knowing that, if I live my life faithful to what I believe, I will see them again on the other side of heaven. And when that happens, there will be no further separation because of death. We will live forever and ever in God’s presence and with each other.
I chose to remember and cherish. Remember the good works of those who have passed on. Remember the words of encouragement, love and support. Remember the laughs and smiles. Remember the admonitions to care for those less fortunate and to share the bounty that God has blessed me with. To honor the memories of those who have been laid to sleep until His return by living my life to the fullest and by keeping their memories alive in my heart and actions.
Ecclesiastes 3:1-11 reminds us that:
"To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven."Nothing happens without it being the prescribed time for it to happen. Life, death, happiness, sorrow – it is all a part of the cycle of life. I may not like this particular “season” in my life right now, but I know that it is only for a little while – and then the next “season” will come. E’en so, come quickly.
©2013 Kristina E. Smith