01 February, 2011
HAVE FAITH IN COMPLETING LIFE'S JOURNEY; SOMETHING BETTER AWAITS US IN THE END
I wanna live my life just like you did
And make the most of my life just like you did
And I wanna make my home up in the sky just like you did
Oh, but until I get there, until I get there..."
A verse from "Save A Place For Me" as sung by Matthew West
You know me, I like to talk about things -- or more accurately, write about them. While I always have my readers in mind, more often than not when I think about certain things and then in turn write about them, I am helping myself find clarity and resolution in some shape or form.
There have been times, however, when delving into certain personal concerns and issues that I have concluded that there are no right or wrong answers or positions to be adopted. The stock conclusion in such cases is generally "do what is right for you and follow your heart". Being a sort of "there has to be an answer for everything" kind of person, I am not always satisfied with settling for such nebulous resolutions or solutions.
Listening to the very beautiful and poignant video above this morning, an unresolved issue came flooding back to me. The lyrics for "Save A Place For Me" were obviously written by someone very early in the grieving process and a lot of questions are still being asked of the deceased loved one in the song. Love, the deep physical and emotional love that used to exist between two devoted individuals, lingers in every lyrical sentence.
When someone very close to us inevitably passes away, particularly a husband or wife, how long must we put our life on hold? When do we finally let go of the grief, the sadness, the longing, the sense of losing someone who once meant everything to us? When do we pick up the pieces of what is left of our life, and get on with it? Or should we just fold our tent and let the rest of the world pass us by, waiting for The Good Lord to eventually take us by the hand and fulfill the popular perception of a long-awaited glorious reunion somewhere in the great beyond?
The question also begs to be asked: "What would my dearly departed loved one want me to do? Depending on age, of course, would it be acceptable not only to pick up the pieces of my life, but dare I even think about entering the social arena after being away from it for so long? And what if I just happen to meet someone who offers the potential to love again in that very special way? Would I? Could I? Should I?
In my case, my first life partner passed away after 40 years of marriage. I was numb and hopelessly floundering. A piece of me was gone, never to be replaced. Anne came to terms with her illness and was more than ready to leave me, our two daughters and at the time four grandchildren...She was weary and deserved an earthly release which we all reluctantly accepted in the end. I am convinced that Anne left us knowing that our commitment to each other had been fulfilled.
Fortunately for me, almost magically, another unique person came into my life. We had something(s) to offer each other and we instinctively recognized the path we were destined to follow. That path, offering a chance at a new life, new love and all that it entailed, has been the right one for us. In all fairness, however, the path that Rosanne and I have taken may not be suitable or even possible for everyone. In that regard, I feel blessed.
No matter how our live's unfold, or what direction we take, it is only natural that there will be some unresolved issues and unanswered questions. Where and how we spend the rest of our eternity is perhaps the greatest mystery known to mankind. No degree of moralizing or calling on religion will ever give us definitive answers to questions involving the afterlife. On the other hand, there is an inherent need for us to have faith while we are still in the here and now.
Faith is a wonderful thing, if applied in the true sense of the word. Faith is all about trust, belief and honest intentions. Faith helps keep us on course as we experience the clefs and valleys in our lives. When we lose faith, we loose hope. When we loose hope, we die.
As much as I love the song "Save A Place For Me" and I appreciate the sentiments that are expressed, in truth I have reservations (pardon the pun) about the prospect of anyone holding a heavenly place for me as one would reserve a seat in a theater or at a dinner table. I simply have trouble wrapping my mind around that concept, however nice and conveniently self-serving it may be.
My faith promises me one thing, and one thing only. I have faith in a belief that if we live decent lives, a reward awaits us at the end of our earthly journey. What form that reward takes is well beyond any human conception. But the mere prospect of something better awaiting us provides incentive for us to keep on keeping on, doesn't it?
And after all is said and done, the suggestion to do what is right for us and to follow our hearts does have merit. That is what I have been doing all along anyway and I am sure that is what most readers have been doing as well. We instinctively want to do what is right and our hearts are capable of leading us in wondrous ways.
I choose not to live a fanciful existence. The best I can hope for is that God will ultimately have a place for me that is in keeping with the life that I have lived -- and that it will not be too uncomfortably hot for my liking.
I'll settle for that!