Two things struck me: One, it seems the only time I dress up these days is to go to a funeral. Or, at best, funerals are the only occasion to which I wear my navy blue blazer. And secondly, funerals are the occasion where we bid goodbye to loved ones (or support those who do). And while they are full of sorrow, much effort is made to make these goodbyes full of hope as well. The loved one is, after all, going to a "better place," no?
That is the crux of human faith: that there exists, unseen, a better world. And better all around: according to the book about it, there will be no pain, no tears, and no more death.
Part of me agrees with Conrad Aiken. The southern poet is buried in my favorite cemetery, Bonaventure, near Savannah, Georgia. His tombstone is a bench, and on it is inscribed a notice he saw in the shipping pages of the Savannah paper. There, among the notices of ships arriving and departing, was this cryptic notice:
(click photo to enlarge)
The poet in me loves that. The mystic in me agrees as well. While I am well aware of the promises of God to his children about the world to come, nevertheless I realize I do not—indeed cannot—begin to imagine what it will be like. My wife's friend knows. And my friend's father knows.
And one day, so will I.