Thought For The Week
'Life and death are intricately connected. They are natural, inevitable processes that everyone goes through and you cannot pull them apart. Life is usually revered and death is commonly feared. It could be argued that without an awareness of death, life would not matter as much as it does.' ~Dean Ratore
It is well know that we Irish do funerals well. Many check out rip.ie to see if a loved one has died in their local area. There is almost an inbuilt automatic response to sympathise with a family in bereavement. We attend the removal or the funeral, we may call to the house, we may send a sympathy card or we may write a letter to the family.
The most common line used at a removal, from those sympathising to the mourner is: "I am sorry for your loss." It's not about having the right words or wondering what should I say because often there are no words. Our presence is really valued, even when it might seem that shaking hands randomly isn't going to make much of a difference. Our gentle presence around the time of the death of a loved one does make a significant difference.
During November we reflect much more on death than any other time of year. With the onset of winter and decreasing daylight it happens naturally. Our Christian rituals allow us to do it in a way that is both meaningful and healthy. The rituals may not take away the pain of grief, but they allow gentle healing that is always welcome and important. So whether it is a local prayer service in your local church remembering those who have died, a visit to a local cemetery, the lighting of a candle or flicking through a photo album packed with memories, they all serve one function, which is to remember with love.
Life is linked to death and it is only because it has to end that it has purpose, meaning and value. This is the way it has always been, the way it is now and the way it will continue to be. If we fear death or dread it or hate the thought of what it might be like, we will always be on edge. We will be carrying around with us a nervous energy.
The constant message of scripture and especially the Resurrection stories is that death is not to be feared and that it is the beginning of a journey into light, love and peace. Coming from this faith foundation allows us to be more comfortable with death and in doing so actually allows us to live life more fully. Life is lived, cherished and celebrated in the moment that we call today and especially in the moment that we call now. I hope your journey through November will allow you some time, even briefly to reflect upon death, to remember with love your loved ones and to remind you just how precious and special your life is.
Thought For The Week is updated each Monday