Thursday, January 13, 2011

Stopping To Grieve

Today I was able to mourn with a friend.  We never look forward to death or funerals, but the denial of death is unhealthy.  Like it or not, it is a part of life.  This doesn't mean that it is to be celebrated or masked as some happy or normal occasion.  Death is an abberation.  This is why we mourn; to recognize the reality that the only certain part of life is ugly and painful.

It hit me because of this:  the funeral was in my hometown.  It isn't a busy place.  Some may call it backward, I wouldn't go that far.  My son was with me.  We were a part of the procession from the funeral to the graveside.  My son (eleven years old) had a hard time understanding all of the cars along the way that stopped for us.  Not only at intersections without a police directing them, but oncoming traffic, stopping simply out of respect for our procession.

I told him that sometimes in the face of death, the only appropriate response is to stop.  After all, that's what death is-- ceasing to exist in this world.  We stop to recognize it.  We can't continue our lives in the moment and go on being normal to deal with it.  If the realization of death doesn't stop us in our tracks, at least for the moment, I don't think that we are adequately considering it.  Not to be morbid, or to live in dread, but to recognize that at some point we too will move from this life into the next.  Whether approached with hope or dread, that point will be the most significant point of our lives.

So I grieve for my friend who has lost a parent, but I give thanks for the moment to reflect on the beauty and fragility of human life.

5 I wait for the LORD, my whole being waits,
   and in his word I put my hope.
6 I wait for the Lord
   more than watchmen wait for the morning
Psalm 130:5-6

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