Our death is not an end if we can live on in our children and the younger generation. For they are us, our bodies are only wilted leaves on the tree of life.
I talked last week about being a member of the club that none of us wishes we had to belong to. But just as surely as the sun rises in the morning and sets in the evening, so is this membership a mandatory part of being a human being.
I learned Wednesday of another of my friends losing a loved one…her mother, in fact. And while the grieving process is such a very personal one and very different from person to person, I have walked in her shoes. I remember from a personal perspective, that when my mother passed away, I actually felt like I was 1/2 of an orphan. And that thought was extremely surprising to me, as I mused about it later on. When I lived at home my mother and I were always embroiled in some dispute or other, almost never agreeing on anything through my teen and young adult years. But, it was also my mother that was the first one that I turned to share my joys as well as my sorrows, in the years following my marriage and when distance made our connection together a phone call rather than a walk from one room to the next.
And then I realized that we were, in reality, a part of “The Neverending Story”. In case you don’t know, this is a story, first published in 1979 and made into a movie in 1984, about a bullied boy, whose mother had recently passed away and whose father was so engrossed in his own mourning that he neglects to recognize the pain his son is going through. And it was when Bastian was running away from the bullies that he enters a magical book store, discovers the book “The Neverending Story”, and absconds with it. Seeking refuge in a closed off part of his school, he begins reading and is transported into another place and time, where he becomes enmeshed within the lives as well as the storyline of the characters contained within the book. Many tragedies occur but it is when Bastian actually realizes that it is he and his life force that is actually directing the course of the story, that he realizes the degree of control and power that he has to help not just his new friends in Fantasia, but his father, and himself, as well. And we find that one little boy has been given the opportunity to bring hope to the world in which he lives.
My point is that everything in our lives is intermingled with every aspect of the lives of those we are close to and even with those whose encounters with us are but casual occurrences. “The Neverending Story” is the story of life. And every single movement we make and thought we have directs the course of our own journey as part of our very own never ending story. It may be considered no more that a hiccough in the road of life for the universe when it presents as a sinkhole in our own. But each adds to the wisdom we are blessed with and adds one more layer to our character as a human being. And when we turn to God to help us along this journey that is our never ending story, we can be certain that we are blessed with the resources to meet head on, all those challenges with the knowledge that we are not facing them alone!
A funeral service I once attended was offered by a minister I do not know but who shared a wonderful poem called “The Dash”. It moved me so much that I had to find it that very moment and bookmark it in my phone so that I would always have it at hand for inspiration! It spoke volumes about what the person who had passed away had given and it offered some thoughts to what it is we all might want to aspire to!
I read of a man who stood to speak at the funeral of a friend.
He referred to the dates on her tombstone from the beginning to the end.
He noted that first came the date of her birth and spoke of the following date with tears,
But he said what mattered most of all was the Dash between those years.
For that Dash represents all the time that she spent alive on Earth,
And now only those who loved her know what that little line is worth.
For it matters not, how much we own, the cars, the house, the cash,
What matter is how we live and love and how we spend our Dash.
So think about this long and hard; Are there things you’d like to change?
For you never know how much time is left that can still be rearranged.
If we could just slow down enough to consider what’s true and real
And always try to understand the way other people feel.
And be less quick to anger and show appreciation more
And love the people in our lives like we’ve never loved before.
If we treat each other with respect and more often wear a smile,
Remembering that this special dash might only last a little while.
So when your eulogy is being read with your life’s actions to rehash
Would you be proud of the things they say about how you spent your Dash?
” Then, when our dying bodies have been transformed into bodies that will never die, this Scripture will be fulfilled: “Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” For sin is the sting that results in death, and the law gives sin its power. But thank God! He gives us victory over sin and death through our Lord Jesus Christ.“
1 Corinthians 15:54-57 NLT