I just got back in town after attending the funeral of someone who was dearly loved and who died suddenly, unexpectedly, at the young age of 47. He leaves behind two children and his wife of 21 years, my college roommate.
The collective sadness at the varied gatherings was nearly crippling. The pit in my stomach still remains. We lost a wonderful, generous, good-hearted man who smiled with the same ease and frequency as breathing. But that’s not why we weep. We rejoice for him for he is with God the Creator, basking in the pure joy of unfathomable, unyielding, all-comforting and encompassing Love (with a capital L).
We weep not for the departed, but for those who remain.
The problem with death is that inevitably, some people are left behind.
But here’s the thing, the absence is temporary, even if the pain of it lasts a lifetime. Our souls, our true identity is eternal. We are more that mere flesh and bones, we are more than our physical form, we are eternal beings. When freed from physical form, we return to God. We all return to Love. And therefore, we all return to each other because we all return to God. A reunion isn’t just likely, it’s inevitable.
But death does bring change, change that may include unwelcome disruptions to our daily lives and future plans. Nothing replaces the loneliness of an empty chair and absent goodnight kiss (which is why we weep for the family). We wish we could bare some of this pain. But death doesn’t ever mean we are alone. We know that God is with us! There’s that fact. But there’s even more. We also know that the departed are with God. So simple math tells us that, because God is always with us, and the departed are with God, then the departed are always with us as well. The chair will remain empty, but the spirit that filled it remains. Always.
In God we trust.