March #SOLC17 Day 20
I attended the funeral for the mother of a friend this past weekend. It was held in a very beautiful and very packed church. The deceased; Margie, was only 77 years old. She had many, many friends and she touched many, many lives. She was loved.
Sitting in the service for Margie I listened very carefully as the priest talked about what it must feel like to die. He said that a few people have spoken with him after such an experience. They would talk about the knowledge they had of what was happening around them as they lay “dying.”
One person knew from which direction the ambulance came and the names of the people who worked on him – and he was face down on the pavement all the while. The priest said he could nothing but nod his head. He didn’t have any answers, he listened and shared his faith.
Another person said they experienced the deepest warmth inside their bones because they saw their loved ones waiting for them. Of course, they didn’t make it all the way to these open arms, but the experience allayed all anxieties they were initially feeling. They compared it to that of holding your child for the first time. Again the priest said all he could do was nod his head, having faith that this truly is how it works.
I considered all that the priest was sharing with us as my eyes moved from person to person in that church. Each one looking so different from the next. Old men and women with walkers and canes, middle-aged men and women holding hands, younger people with small children, single people sitting alone. While they looked very different from each other, I saw that they had one commonality; it was their faith. Their faces looked sad, but I could still see and feel a sense of peace and calm all around them.
It is fair to say that I did not grow up a very religious person. I was taught that there was a God, but that I should not depend on Him for my happiness. My faith taught me to rely on myself and that God would be there to support me. As I sat in that pew on Saturday morning, however, I could not deny the faith that was all around me. I was amongst people who believed that everything was going to be OK and that whatever was unclear would become clear when God decided. They were consoled in the belief that the separation of soul and body had taken place and Margie was happy, healthy and whole.
I could see how much comfort that brought to Margie’s friends and family. And that is what keeps so many of us moving forward.
That is faith.