DEATH DOES NOT DIE
Death is not terminated with a funeral and a burial, rather it is omnipresent, retained in the throes of memory until all memory is ceased. Death is not the end of life, the irreversible loss of personhood, nor the cessation of functioning, rather it is ever retained in the echoes of the mind and heart. Its initial introduction is tender to the touch, open and raw with the impossibility of complete healing. It is central to the moment, whether awake or asleep. Death is real and the focus of all activity, conversation, interactions and memories, even in silence. Its force is sometimes shared, but more often kept silent.
Death attacks our very being, it attacks our courage, endurance, and strength, even our patience, long suffering, kindness and gentleness. It disturbs our thought and reasoning processes, our morals, beliefs and even our faith.
It is evident , that in a time of grief, a professing, Christian is held to a higher level of observable faith than one who claims little or no knowledge of God. This evidence is most noticeable in the time worn cliches that are often spoken in order to comfort. Such platitudes as: “They are better off, You know what the Bible says, This too shall pass, At least they didn’t suffer, You’re still young, Just lay it at the foot of the cross, Trust God, He knows best, Be thankful.” While these statements are true, the smiles, agreement, joy and gratefulness that are expected from the one whose heart is broken, are neither comforting nor helpful; they are mere words, that do not negate the pain.
As time marches on and acceptance becomes reality, we are acutely aware that time does not heal all wounds, it merely creates a scab to cover the rawness of the ache. Maybe death isn’t dwelt upon, as when it was first introduced, or maybe we have learned to focus our attention elsewhere, maybe our broken heart has formed scar tissue, so that we are less reminded of the pain. Regardless of the maybes, there will always be parts of the heart that are permanently damaged as a result of death. It is our responsibility, as Christians, to process that damage according to Philippians 4:8-9, “Finally, brethern, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things”. Death does not die, but it is made a little more palatable by the Words of our Omniscient God.
by Barbara Pelfrey-Harville
January 27, 2017