Darkness

Darkness is inevitable…….it will come…..night always follows day and day leads to night.

Be it bankruptcy, divorce, death, sickness, loss of a job, loss of a friendship, rape, embarrassment, shame ……………..

Back home I attended many funerals…. my friends contended I loved attending funerals. Until then, I didn’t think about why I went to these somber affairs so often, I just did. And I am a country girl, country people are like that.

But then I began thinking about why I went….I came up with the following:

1. Just to show up, share the grieve and offer some comfort. There is some solace I know in seeing a familiar face in that time of deep distress.

2. Because it’s my way of saying, you mean something to me. I care about the deceased or about the relatives and friends of the deceased.

3. Opportunity to see people I haven’t seen in a very long time

4. Opportunity to gossip, compare notes and catch up

5.  Something to do on a Sunday evening, until morning and midday and mid week funerals became chic. That’s when I realized I was going for the right reasons.

6. I attended my older cousin’s funeral in October 2014, and it had an impact on me like no other. For the tributes and obituaries for her were nothing less than spectacular. For those who didn’t know her, they got to meet her in living colour at her funeral. A life well lived, a soul seemingly at rest, a journey steeped in faith and in Christ. That day, at that moment, at that funeral, I decided I wanted to live a life that will be celebrated in that same way. Of course, the size of and diversity in the crowd, the flowers, the harmony in song were also big indicators of who she was.

I always wondered why people overseas bothered to attend funerals back home. Now that I am away- I truly understand why they do. Of course, I still believe the reason for some is not always noble. But there is something about just being there. It’s not the same when you are not there. Videos and pictures do not compensate. I truly get it, perspective is gained in absence.

I once heard Alan Johnston BBC editor, echo these same sentiments after his release from capture by Palestinian terrorist in 2007. He spoke about the mundane activities that he took for granted, that he just soaked in after his release. Walking down the street, choosing his clothes, eating what he wanted, and being with family etc. I heard ex-cons with the same argument,  prison is not just the confinement- it’s about having a master, having way too much free time and having no choice. They had to lose these things, to really appreciate what they had.

Think about that, just think about having all the time in the world on your hands without much of a choice about what to do with it, think about not knowing whether the next minute will be your last. So the next time we complain about having no time, let’s just reflect. I get that now even more than ever, when I think of funerals. It’s much like what Christ said ” to find your life, you have to lose it”…….

I was also one who always had mixed feelings too about the bereaved attending the actual service- but I know now there is merit in attending. Show up, be real, take off the armor and just grieve……the things we truly need or even desire will not come to us unless we risk it. This life is a life lived in opposites…….without the Commandments we wouldn’t know sin, so too:

1. Patience and perseverance are gained from facing trials

2. Wisdom from solving problems

3. Courage from taking risks and confronting fear

4. Strength is gained from being weak or delving in another’s weakness

5. Discipline through punishment

6. Light is appreciated because of darkness and the list goes on……

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