Random and not so random musings from a 5th generation NE Missourian who became a 1st generation Episcopalian. Let the good times roll!

That it may please thee to grant to all the faithful departed
eternal life and peace,
We beseech thee to hear us, good Lord.

Well...Even though I'm not yet 50, there are many people who used to be in my life who are gone.

Once upon a time, b/c of all the divorces in my family, I had eight grandparents. I am down to one. I have lost at least four high school classmates to the spectre of Death. I've written many times before about my uncle R., who died in a hunting accident at age 11. Many of the people I grew up with in my home town, people of "the greatest generation", that made up the productive life blood of my home town, are gone. I really miss that bunch. I would love to hear what they would have to say about this present economic crisis. (I have a feeling they would say, "stop whining and do the best you can--that's all you can do.")

I can sit and miss those people at the drop of a hat. But sometimes I can still feel them in my heart.

You know, in some ways I know a TON about death. My job is a constant walk alongside sickness and death, rendering diagnoses that sometimes will almost certainly end someone's life sooner rather than later. In some ways I'm pretty fatalistic and downright cold about it. I know better than most that we all will die, no matter what we eat, how much we exercise, and that our "healthy habits", although laudable, are just prolonging the inevitable.

It's why I don't worry a hoot about trying to look alluring. It's why I chose to go gray. It's why I don't even OWN a bottle of moisturizer. I know full well I will gray, wrinkle, sag, and degenerate. I don't have time to waste on people who want me to be an image, and I don't have time to waste on "artificial". If they don't find my soul attractive, my heart young and loving, well...they can all go to Hell (My grandmother's favorite response to any form of rejection..."If they don't like (fill in the blank), well, they can just all go to Hell.")

Yet, most of Death, I haven't a clue.

I think we all have a disconnect. We cannot get beyond some variant of "imagining ourselves alive" when we imagine ourselves dead. We just sort of imagine us, as we see us, but in another place. It's just "live us" in a different locale.

I can't imagine "light perpetual". I can't see "light" without the counterbalance of "dark", just as I can't know "hot" without knowing "cold" or "room temperature."

Then comes the really really weird part. I think the closest I've ever been to feeling the presence of God, it's in the dark silent places. But God is light. What's up with that? For me, he's a warmth or a wind in the middle of dark and silent.

I have this very Jesuit notion about the moment of death. When we die, the world we know melts all around us and we discover that the Kingdom of Heaven was right here with us all along. It's my version of "All will be revealed." It was all covered with this little Japanese rice paper screen, this flimsy and fragile illusion of "life."

In my 30's, I used to have this recurring dream. I dreamed that my life was, well...a dream...and when I woke up, I found I was not a professional, had never gone to college, and I had remained in my home town, putting together chicken pot pies at the local ConAgra plant. It was a scary and awful dream. I'd wake up sweating, and unsure if I really DIDN'T put chicken pot pies together for a living.

But I'll tell you something I miss about not having that dream anymore. When I would finally wake up and realize where I was, I had such joy, such gratitude, such delight for WHO I WAS, warts and all.

I want to believe at the moment of my death, what I see will be so awesome, so powerful, so amazing, it makes the best moments of the time I have been allotted on earth look like making chicken pot pies at the ConAgra plant...because it means the hardest and most painful parts of my life will become nothing. That thought is a delight!


Perhaps the light and warmth of God actually radiate from within us which is why you feel them most in silence and darkness?

Very possible, PP, very possible.



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Kirksville, Missouri, United States
I'm a longtime area resident of that quirky and wonderful place called Kirksville, MO and am wondering what God has hiding round the next corner in my life.

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