Friday, January 31, 2014

I Am Not There

I read an article this morning about a man in Massachusetts who passed away this week at the age of 97. His wife died 20 years ago and every day between the time of her burial and last summer, when his health failed him, he sat at her grave "to feel better." All day. Every day. For 20 years. This struck me as so sad and so misdirected and I thought of this poem:

Do Not Stand at My Grave and Weep

     Do not stand at my grave and weep
     I am not there. I do not sleep.
     I am a thousand winds that blow.
     I am the diamond glints on snow.
     I am the sunlight on ripened grain.
     I am the gentle autumn rain.
     When you awaken in the morning's hush
     I am the swift uplifting rush
     Of quiet birds in circled flight.
     I am the soft stars that shine at night.
     Do not stand at my grave and cry;
     I am not there. I did not die.

Mary Elizabeth Frye

O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?
I Corinthians 15:55

He will swallow up death forever. The Sovereign Lord will wipe away the tears from all faces;  he will remove his people's disgrace from all the earth. The Lord has spoken.
Isaiah 25:8

He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death, or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.
Revelation 21:4

Mostly, I feel sorry for this man. To have spent almost one-fifth of his life like this. I almost said "wasted" instead of "spent" but who am I to judge how he or anyone should spend their time? A small part of me, however, hopes his wife bopped him upside of his head when he passed through the gates of Heaven, just like a V8 commercial, and said, "Rocky! I swear you'd do anything to keep from cleaning those gutters!"