It seems that the last six months has been my families’ turn to be in the barrel. During this time multiple deaths have occurred in our family and to our acquaintances. Three uncles have passed away; one was in his nineties, and two of them, in their eighties. A close friend who I golfed with and became quite close to has joined our Maker. And most recently an in-law has been tragically snatched in the prime of his life, while serving his fellow man as an EMT. I know they say we wait for the other shoe to drop…but in this case it seems like an octopus is removing those shoes. How can I make jokes during such a tragic time? Let me explain.

After each death, I fruitlessly tried to understand the why, the reason they had to die. In so doing, I could not help but look back and remember each person as they were. The more I thought about their lives, what they did, how they lived, how good it was to be around them the more inspired I became. Without faith, we can only see the absurdity of death. It is meaningless. It is tragic. We sense only the loss that we feel. It is human to mourn. It is natural to mourn. I would even say that, at times, the mourning process can actually be therapeutic.

But the end of the mourning process does not mean we stop thinking about our loved ones. The memories that we have will, and should, remain with us, always. And in those memories our loved one stays with us always. Just as we knew the love that we had for each in life, so too, we know the other still exists in death, because of that same love. We can cherish the time we had together, the shared memories, the shared love. Why? How can this be? If we believe that a person named Jesus walked this earth…, if we believe that He came to show us how to live…, if we believe that He overcame death to show us that there is more to life than what exists here on earth, then that belief, that faith tells us these good people are truly with God, as we sit here and think about them. Yes, it is natural to mourn, but it is divine to be thankful for what we experienced with our loved one. I believe Lord, help my unbelief.

So how can I speak in humor at a time like this? My faith tells me that these people, these relatives and friends, ALL good people, are now with God. Creation has come full circle. God has brought them back to Himself. They have fought the good fight. They have run the race. They have won the laurel wreath of victory. Each mother and father holds their loved ones close to them. And, God, our Father, has once again wrapped His arms around them. We will miss them, yes, but we can be glad for them. Do not mourn for them. They are with us still, because they are with God, who is with us always.

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