About a week ago, the Maxima and I journeyed together to Portage for my Aunty Laurie's funeral. Actually, it was not a funeral, it was a celebration. She would have nothing to do with funerals; she wanted her friends and family to get together and have a party in remembrance of her life. So that we did. We played bingo, listened to an Elvis impersonator, and later we ate pizza and cake, her favorites. We cried plenty too, and remembered all that Aunty Laurie gave in her life on Earth. The word that described her over and over was love. Love, love, love. It was a very good reminder to me that it really is all that lasts and endures. Love. People remember love- love as an action that helps and shares and gives. She loved like that and it touched people. We admired her amazing endurance through so much pain- she was courageous to the end.
I was glad that I could be there. It was the day before, though, that likely sparked some thoughts for me. I went to her viewing; I have never done this before. She is the first person that I really knew that has passed away. It was quite an experience for me. I was sad to see her there, because it meant Aunty Laurie had left us and I wouldn't know her here on Earth anymore.
But more than that, I felt an amazing sense of joy for her. She was, and is, free! The words that ran through my mind were "It's just a tent. This body is only a tent- nothing more". The flesh has lost the battle, but my Aunty Laurie is free. For the last week my mind has sometimes drifted to Aunty Laurie and I wonder what she is up to. What's it like up there, over there, wherever you are experiencing the other side of this?
Anyway, it is all leading me to think about how much time I waste on the surface level of life. It has helped me think about cultivating the spirit inside of me that my Father wants. I confess I am consumed by so much of what will pass away.
I've been reading Brian McLaren's book, "A New Kind of Christian". I happened to run into his chapter on "What is Heaven About Anyway?" the night before the service.
I think he has some good thoughts on how death teaches us about "becoming" in the now. I'll let him speak for himself:
"We are becoming on this side of the door of death the kind of people we will be on the other side. And for that reason, the reality of death gives us an important gift every day: it reminds us that we can't keep putting off the work of becoming. It tells us to prepare to meet God then by entering into a relationship with him now. It echoes the words of Jesus, "Turn, turn, turn to God...because the kingdom of heaven is near. Because someday it will be time to turn in our final exam. Someday the teacher will say, "Time's up. Pencils down". Someday the essay that we have written with our lives will be complete.
What we will have become on this side of the door, that we will be on the other. That fact means that we live every moment in the nexus of peril and possibility."