The Centering Effect of Death


One of the things I do these days to serve in the kingdom of God as well as generate some financial stability is officiate funeral and memorial services for the families of those who have passed out of this life and into eternity. Every time I serve in this capacity, I’m reminded of my own immortality, which causes reflection on life issues that are valuable in bringing some concreteness to our often complex and confusing world.

Yesterday, I officiated at my father-in-law memorial service. Someone who was pretty much removed from our lives until just the last few years. A wonderful man in many respects except when it came to a wife and three daughters he seemed to have divorced almost 50 years ago. A number of years later married a women with three sons, who found in him a father who was a tremendous role model. In preparation for his service this juxtaposition resulted in multiple emotions and tension that accompany situations of this nature. I’ve tried to rationally balance it all out in my mind, which has only added to the inner struggle resident within my soul of what should have been but was not.

But on the other hand, it is times like this that clarify or center us on what is essential on this side of eternity; like faith, family, and friends, and how to live in the midst of confusion and complexity. A friend sent me a forward (which I rarely open) of some thoughts titled “The Paradox of our Times” which originally entered the world wide web back in 1998 which I find both comforting and encouraging for where I’m at today.

The paradox of our time in history is that we have taller buildings but shorter tempers, wider Freeways, but narrower viewpoints. We spend more, but have less, we buy more, but enjoy less. We have bigger houses and smaller families, more conveniences, but less time. We have more degrees but less sense, more knowledge, but less judgment, more experts, yet more problems, more medicine, but less wellness.

We drink too much, smoke too much, spend too recklessly, laugh too little, drive too fast, get too angry, stay up too late, get up too tired, read too little, watch TV too much, love too seldom, and hate too often.

We’ve learned how to make a living, but not a life. We’ve added years to life not life to years. We’ve been all the way to the moon and back, but have trouble crossing the street to meet a new neighbor. We conquered outer space but not inner space. We’ve done larger things, but not better things.

We’ve cleaned up the air, but polluted the soul. We’ve conquered the atom, but not our prejudice. We write more, but learn less. We plan more, but accomplish less. We’ve learned to rush, but not to wait. We build more computers to hold more information, to produce more copies than ever, but we communicate less and less.

These are the times of fast foods and slow digestion, big men and small character, steep profits and shallow relationships. These are days of two incomes but more divorce, fancier houses, but broken homes. These are days of quick trips, disposable diapers, throwaway morality, one night stands, overweight bodies, and pills that do everything from cheer, to quiet, to kill. It is a time when there is much in the showroom window and nothing in the stockroom. A time when technology can bring this letter to you, and a time when you can choose either to share this insight, or just hit delete…

Remember; spend some time with your loved ones, because they are not going to be around forever.

Remember, say a kind word to someone who looks up to you in awe, because that little person soon will grow up and leave your side.

Remember to give a warm hug to the one next to you, because that is the only treasure you can give with your heart and it doesn’t cost a cent.

Remember, to say, “I love you” to your partner and your loved ones, but most of all mean it. A kiss and an embrace will mend hurt when it comes from deep inside of you.

Remember to hold hands and cherish the moment for someday that will not be there again.

Give time to love, give time to speak! And give time to share the precious thoughts in your mind.

AND ALWAYS REMEMBER:

Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.

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3 Responses

  1. Rob,

    I’ve read that piece by Carlin before…good stuff.

    Shalom to you and your family as you process all things associated with the passing of your father-in-law. These things are never simple, and when they are especially complicated, it is so much more challenging.

  2. […] bookmarks tagged wellness The Centering Effect of Death saved by 8 others     Kronicng112007 bookmarked on 02/01/08 | […]

  3. really good one and thanks for it.

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