|1 Corinthians 15: 50-57|
Traveling today in the hopes of partially fulfilling the wishes of a dear mother.
My dear mother.
She hand-wrote the manner she'd like to have her material body disposed of.
She desired to have her ashes spread over the oceans of the loveliest places she knew while here.
Hawaii and her Cuba.
I was quite surprised when I read her will.
She made several copies of what she wrote on memo-sized lined paper in her near-perfect cursive writing, and mailed a copy to her children.
Some people never lose their penmanship over the years, others (me) begin writing hieroglyphics as soon as they leave school...sometimes having difficulty deciphering their own writing (me again).
Included in her will were a few short paragraphs outlining the manner she desired having her funeral; the music, certain colors, who would preside over the formalities and directives for her ashes.
She didn't realize there wouldn't be a coffin when cremation was the choice.
This was a curve ball that my sisters and I considered while at-bat before the mortician.
The mortician gladly offered an empty coffin for the showing (at an extra cost, of course).
Blue was her color.
Specifically; baby blue.
The urn was going to be a hue of this baby blue.
Tom Jones was her favorite singer.
I grew to like Tom's voice over the years, hearing it quite often in the car and at home growing up.
One of my first journeys into wealthier surroundings as an adolescent was accompanying my mom to a Jones Girls (Tom Jones fan club) gathering at a fancy abode atop the Palos Verdes peninsula (middle-upper class southern California location).
After the funeral church service we heard hit after hit of Tom Jones at the dinner while watching a montage from our mother's past.
I think everyone cried at least once during that journey through her visual past.
So now as I fly over the Pacific Ocean while gazing at whitecaps from a height of 36,000 feet, I wonder if I will get emotional when we finally attempt to follow through with her wishes in Hawaii.
I write the words 'attempt' and earlier 'partially fulfilling' in reference to my mother's wishes because sometimes things don't always come about as we personally would like them to... or according to the wishes of those we love.
I am a stickler for following the rules (most of the time).
I'm definitely a serious person when it comes to following orders / directions.
Fulfilling what someone close to my heart desires, or someone my heart desires to please (which can be all of humanity with very few exceptions), is very important to me.
My mother had very concise, simple and specific desires when she wrote out that will.
She wrote her will when she still had the capacity to comprehend thoughts long enough to write them clearly into written words and while still being able to formulate spoken words.
My mother's frontal lobes deteriorated into nothingness over the years, rendering her closed-off from expression and speech...eventually affecting her eating.
Her will was to not be attached to life prolonging devices...so after she ceased eating, it was less than a week before she was released.
When an older sibling decided to adjust my mother's wishes to appease the dogmatic ideas of the world's leading religion, I had an important choice to make.
Do I lean on my legalistic tendencies, or continue to keep the peace with my sibling?
Do I argue about how anything men consider beyond the direction from Above (theology) is of little consequence, or do I build upon bettering relations with my beloved sibling?
My mother's eternal fate is not bound by the manner a death ritual is conducted.
Whether a body is eaten by fish after a seafaring accident, or by an animal on land, or blown to bits in outer space or extinguished by the flames of an inferno...the eternal abode of that person's spirit is not dependent on such material varieties.
Some of the earliest believers were burned alive, torn apart by animals, cut to pieces and suffered many other manners of death.
In many instances, the church had no means to recover the bodies of their dearly departed.
Was the manner of their death, or the inability to recover the body, or the inability of a man to do certain things in the presence of the body a salvation issue?
Of course not.
What does arise in the heart after death is witnessed is doubt about the spirit's eternal abode.
There is a part that men have been given; a small role in presiding over death.
After death was dealt a deathblow, man's role is about comforting people.
Comfort for those still breathing, not so much for the dearly departed (but this, as any religious topic, is highly contentious).
Man's absence (and the absence of that small role) holds no bound on the eternal trajectory of the soul.
There is a process after death for those either heaven-bound and hell-ward...unseen by most eyes.
How this process specifically comes about is not a widespread disclosure, yet many opinions exist that cause people to doubt, and differ in suspicion, and thus compels people to perform certain acts.
Speaking about these things, it is similar to not seeing a butterfly leaving its cocoon.
We only see the cocoon; remnant of a prior life.
There were some instances the 'butterfly' was witnessed after leaving the death cocoon.
What is of utmost importance is not 'knowing' the details, but peacefully abiding along with the collective in order to keep peace and comfort the understandings of others.
The proceedings after the fact (of death) is more of a process for those left behind; the still breathing sojourners on earth.
It is for myself and my dear siblings what my mother wrote in her will.
It is for our heart's peace and the calming of our minds.
It is for our enjoyment; the fellowship from breaking bread together while recalling the many good works our dear mother did for us.
It is an opportunity for communion; giving thanks over the body of yet another one of His children.
The 'life' after death on earth is for those still looking heavenward in wonderment of how our dearly departed are now existing.
What must their daily itinerary be like?
I wonder if my mother has a new favorite color or a new favorite singer...perhaps one of the singing angels of light is now her favorite.
What color is light?
I declare to you, brothers and sisters, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed—in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.”
“Where, O death, is your victory?
Where, O death, is your sting?”
The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Yeshua Christ.
- 1 Corinthians 15: 50-57