Tuesday, July 27, 2010

what can happen when you walk and wonder

I was walking yesterday on the track at the gym (the track is so. Boring. Must recharge my iPod!), and as so often happens when the brain lacks stimulation from its surroundings, it finds its own, inner track for entertainment.

A sequence of thoughts led me to ponder the nature of relationships after death (just a little light thinking…) A particular, personal situation began to spin some thoughts. A loved one died believing something to be true that wasn’t true. That belief interfered with the living relationship. In death, will the truth be discovered? Will the heart that clung to an untruth be released from whatever pain caused it to cling in the first place? Will there ever be a way that I might know of that’s heart’s transformation and release from pain?

It is not uncommon for some of us to be in a state of difficulty with another person at the time of their death. We know that in many circumstances in order for the person still living to experience peace and/or reconciliation with the deceased, it is the living person who does the “work” toward resolution, forgiveness, and letting go to reach the point of apprehending that peace. But what happens when the work that needs to be done lies with the one who has died? Is it possible for the one who has passed on to resolve and reconcile the issues at hand?

According to the catechism of the Episcopal Church we pray for the dead, trusting “that in God’s presence those who have chosen to serve him will grow in his love, until they see him as he is.” Forgive me, but that sounds a bit mamby-pamby. Overlooking for the moment the exclusive body referred to as those “who have chosen to serve him,” why do the prayers of the living assist that journey? It strikes me as an even exchange that the praying can be picked up by those “on the other side,” who have more familiarity with the after-death landscape when it comes to growing in love. And it is all well and good that growing in love will bring us to seeing God as he is, but in my view, once I’m gone that journey is beyond the sights of those still on the earthly plane.

My thoughts with this went all over creation, if you’ll forgive the use of that phrase, and I could write for pages more on the subject of “what happens to us after we die.” For now I’m interested to hear what you think about this (as referred to above) aspect of what transpires. Would you mind sharing your thoughts?

Much obliged.


The Bug said...

After my Mom died I had thoughts about her "looking down from heaven" & keeping an eye on us. Then I thought that was creepy - & might make her unhappy & of course you're not unhappy in heaven.

I had those thoughts, that is, when I believed that our idea of heaven is the actual reality.

But I actually think we have NO idea, really. Maybe issues get resolved after death, maybe not. Maybe it truly doesn't matter for the person who died. I just don't know - & I decided that I can only work on how I'm feeling, not on what may or may not be happening beyond the realm of my understanding.

I know - I'm no help at all!

Mary Beth said...

With absolutely no theological basis for any of this:

I believe that those who've gone on have access to a more perfect understanding and can be healed (that's really not the right word) of painful relationship issues. I also believe that they are with us. I don't think that the dead *need* our prayers but that praying for them is a way of remembering them.

I also see The Bug's point!

Nancy, Near Philadelphia said...

Well, golly, I'm just a Lutheran, and we don't generally go in for this type of meticulous deep thinking. That being said, however, I believe the afterlife is totally different from the present life; that there we are beyond all pettiness and broken relationships, and are more or less just groovin' on being with God and, y'know, God Is Love, and all that. I truly don't like to contemplate the afterlife having streets that we walk around on and run into people like my step-mother-in-law who may well have been a believer but I surely saw no evidence of such. The afterlife IS a mystery and there is something to be said for preserving the mystery.

Jayne said...

It is such a mystery isn't it? I, like Nancy, believe that all the earthy concerns and problems are probably not even on the radar once we go on. I think our spirits are able to let it all go and live in the light finally.

Donna Henderson said...

Is it possible for the one who has passed on to resolve and reconcile the issues at hand?

YES. My late husband and I parted after an argument. I was torn up about that. But then it seemed we let each other know how sorry we were about everything. Now none of it matters anymore. All unkind things we said and did to each other in our 40 years together have been, in my heart and I believe, his, forgiven, forgotten, and erased. We loved each other very much. That's what matters, it's what remains, and it will be forever so. Love is eternal -- stupidity is not -- and love transcends death. That's all I know.

Mompriest said...

I hope that those who have died do see more clearly into the mirror that we only see dimly.

I do pray for the repose of one's soul, but I do it out of love and hope that the person is now at peace and has the answers to life's mysteries. Not out of a need to convince God to accept that soul, I trust God does that.

I am responsible for my feelings, my actions, my words, and my efforts at reconciliation and forgiveness when possible. I don't think forgiving someone is necessary for reconciliation. I do think finding peace and letting go are important to reconciliation. Some things are unforgiveable between humans.

But I don't think anything is unforgiveable by God.

Not sure what I offered here when along the lines of thought you were intersted in....


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