It seemed like the universe chose today to smash together a great number of seemingly unrelated topics and my brain has been working overtime ever since. It’s not the first time I have faced these issues and I know that it will not be the last. But today they all presented themselves at once.
I attended the funeral service for a friend who passed away from cancer. He was good man. He was a man who had a strong faith and never once was heard complaining about pain or ‘why me’ or that he was frightened about what might happen-what death would be like. He posted a daily blog about his life and what was going on for him all the while remaining nothing but positive about what was good in his life. I can only speak for myself but I think I would have had a somewhat different experience. I wondered how he kept such a positive attitude. I wish I could say that I had an epiphany about it all but that did not happen.
So I am left with speculating, pondering and asking questions of others. What I did manage to piece together, at least for my own edification, was that all of this, perhaps, has to do with his strong belief that there is indeed something beyond this realm-something so exceptional that many of us just can’t comprehend it. And then I got to feeling sad that so many people go from day to day in their lives without anything to believe in other than money and the power and influence it can bring. When we get old enough will we realize what we sacrificed along our way to obtain it? Wouldn’t we all be much better off if we leant a hand to our fellow travellers? Wouldn’t we all be a little happier working in service to others and knowing that we had helped to put some food in the belly of a little kid somewhere?? Is there any greater pain than the pain of hunger? Many of us have been randomly gifted with riches such as food, clothing, opportunity and freedom. Couldn’t we offer just a little more of those gifts to help others enjoy a bit more of life instead of having the less fortunate living in turmoil, poverty, fear and ignorance? Instead, the ‘haves’ fight hard to be sure that the ‘have-nots’ stay that way-without . Money has become their ‘GOD’. I think it is more than likely that this group of folks also realizes that once they are gone from this world there is nothing else waiting for them. My friend believed that there was something waiting for him and as sad as it might have been for him he also believed that he would ultimately find himself in a better place. Therein he found his peace. His steadfast belief allowed him to accept his fate and to spend his remaining days in a state of anticipation rather than fear. What an amazing experience. What an incredible way to end his human life here on the planet.
I am not trying to recruit people and I am not trying to convert people. I am simply trying to make sense of what I’ve heard and what I have seen take place in other people. This was the third funeral I have attended in the last month and in each case the story had been the same. They appeared to be prepared for the inevitable outcome and were quite OK with it all. One of the things that was common to all three was their unwavering faith and their fearless march toward their final resting place. It was as though they knew or believed something that many of us don’t.
This reminds me of discussions I have had with people who work really hard to dispel the idea that there is a ‘GOD.’ They want to know if there was a GOD why would he allow atrocities to happen? Why would he let little babies die? Why would he not stop a mass murderer from killing innocent people? I have no answers for those questions other than people have the right of free-will to decide what they will and then they will surely suffer whatever consequences await because of their choices. I do not claim to be someone who understands much of this at all. I’m still trying to make my own sense of it but I do wonder how is it possible that many believe we have been visited by Martians and yet there cannot be a GOD. My usual comeback has always been to say: ” Please prove to me that there isn’t a ‘GOD’–a higher power–however you want to label him.” Of course they can’t and so the debate continues except for those who have a blind faith-those who choose to believe that there is another plain of existence. For many people the possibility of this is so far ‘out there’ that they cannot get beyond the concrete thinking of this world that says ‘show me’ and if that doesn’t happen then it cannot be real. Many would argue that the proof is all around us each day if we prefer to look for it instead of disregarding what they see as an anomaly or a coincidence. There are no coincidences just things that happen.
I do know this. When I hear the stories about people like my friend who passed away in peace and tranquility something in me is tweaked and I think how fortunate they were to be existing in total harmony and peacefulness and bliss. My friend will be missed but I’m sure he is now enjoying, in some way, the fruits of his steadfast belief.
When your kids ask about all of this, and they will at some time, what will you say to them?
Anyway, that’s how I see it–all the best–Jim
Any and all comments are appreciated. Please connect with me at firstname.lastname@example.org OR jimcloughley.com