A friend of mine spoke in church a few weeks ago. She talked about the sanctity of life.. the holiness and grace of birth and the sweet and tender godliness of death.. of saying good-bye. Sometimes friends can say the things that lay unexpressed in your own heart.
Life's journey is one that has so many things that are completely unique for each person and so many things that we all yearn for... can we find love, understanding, community, family, work, adventure, purpose.. joy?
C and I have both said goodbye to friends in the past two weeks. One friend took his own life. We don't judge, but we know that some of those important things were missing in his life and that his heart was broken.
Another friend literally waged a 3 1/2 year war against the disease that eventually took her life, but then with the most divine grace she accepted God's plan for her and slipped away peacefully with her family around her.
You don't ever know what's coming and I was taught just this week that it's unwise to waste precious moments living in fear, but rather have faith in the process and pray for the strength to deal with what comes... Have you ever noticed.. a lot of older people are good at this?
Every time I have gone to a funeral, I have had two distinct feelings and impressions at every one I've attended. The first is that a person's life is gift, a gift to the person who lived it and a gift to everyone around them. Each life touches another. People are remembered and loved by someone, but often by very many. The second thing is that a death, even of a person who is very old and has been very sick, never feels like relief even though people say that all the time, but instead leaves a space like a hole in the universe that only that unique individual can fill. I have lost grandparents and great aunts and uncles who were very sick, to whom life had become a burden.. and yet when they are gone.. it's still very sad. A friend of ours lost a child that only lived 2 hours.. and yet when I see that family, I always think of sweet boy who is missing... always. So, I don't know if age really matters. People are unique and beautiful spirits and they make their mark.. no matter how long they stay.
I believe that at some point the grief of loss will be erased and replaced by the joy of eternal reunion, however the moments in between are so difficult, painful and often lonely. But, in those difficult moments of great pain.. there is something holy and sacred, something of exquisite beauty... I believe it is our hearts teaching us how greatly we love and our spirits reaching for the greater faith to carry us home to each other.