Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Mastering Spirit: The Hard Lesson in Death

Since Christmas Day, death has spiraled around me.  Six people once removed from me have died;  a client’s mom, friend’s boyfriend’s grandfather, husband’s great-aunt, etc.  The news started slowly at first, the day after Christmas, and then picked up speed 20 days later, peaking last Thursday.

My husband is away for 3 weeks (the subject of another post, I’m sure), so last Thursday I was tasked with going to his Great-Aunt’s visitation on my own.  Her death was only made bearable because she had lived 92 amazing years on this earth and had spent the last week in Hospice, so her passing wasn’t a surprise.  Still, going to the visitation was a difficult and uncomfortable thing for me to do; talking to family members I barely know, offering condolences about a woman I’ve only met once, driving 75 minutes to the middle of no where in the dark. 

Then, Thursday became even more difficult, when the friend of a friend called to inform me that our mutual friend’s father had died unexpectedly at the age of 63.  This piece of news, this death, was my breaking point.  It shook me to the core.  The similarities between her father and my own Dad are countless and now my dear friend was living out my worst nightmare.

I started questioning what sort of message I was supposed to be getting from all these deaths.  Was there a lesson?  Or is 2013 just meant to be a shitty year?  I knew all the logical answers; talk to my Dad and Mom about their health, take care of my own health (eat right, exercise, sleep more, drink less), drive safely, tell people important to me that I love them, but I couldn’t help but think there was more to it…

I got my answer on Monday morning at my friend’s father’s funeral (also attended without the loving support of my husband) with the Gospel reading, John 14:1-6:

“Jesus said to his disciples:
“Do not let your hearts be troubled.
You have faith in God; have faith also in me.
In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places.
If there were not, would I have told you
  that I am going to prepare a place for you?
And if I go and prepare a place for you,
  I will come back again and take you to myself,
  so that where I am you also may be.
Where I am going you know the way.”

Thomas said to him,
  “Master, we do not know where you are going;
  how can we know the way?”

Jesus said to him,
  “I am the way and the truth and the life.
No one comes to the Father except through me.”

Death is sorrowful, but faith is strong.  I have to believe that these people are in a better place. 

My lesson is this; I am choosing to let these deaths strengthen my faith, when I believe most people (even me in the past) would begin questioning theirs.

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