I write this as the rain is pouring down. Early in the day, it was fine and I walked in the woods. I got to read a book “Beyond the Natural”, written by a friend: Chacko Thomas. I came across one chapter which was to do with the death of his son, something that prior to then I was unaware off. It was, as one might expect, a moving account. For one thing, his son was only 17 when he died and had a number of conditions that might lead to an early death, even though he and many others had hoped for a miracle. Yet reading the account, there were so many positives, not least his son’s own positive attitude, faith and artistic gifts, and who clearly had impacted the lives of many. But one quote particularly struck me:
I realize that for those who see death as merely the end, there will be a different perspective, but it got me thinking yet again of the brevity of life and in my own case there will have been many more years before me than after, but as for how many that is not for me to say. It happened today, yet another funeral of one of my homeless friends took place, which I couldn’t attend, and shortly there will be a funeral of another homeless friend which I will hopefully attend and pay my respects. The person closest to me, a big part of her job is supporting people with not long to live. One of these, who happened to be a friend of mine, died a short while ago, and my next task is to write a letter to her husband expressing condolences. To cap it all, I have just learned that popular entertainer, Sir Bruce Forsyth, someone I have been aware off since a child, has just died. A little prior, 13 people were killed in a terrorist attack in Spain.
But life is short and as the prayer book reminds us “Man that is born of a woman hath but a short time to live, and is full of misery. He cometh up, and is cut down, like a flower; he fleeth as it were a shadow, and never continueth in one stay. In the midst of life we are in death: of whom may we seek for succour, but of thee, O Lord.” But on a positive side, each day is a gift and there is much to be thankful for and things we can do to benefit others. I know it is a cliché but we do need to take each day as it comes and try living life to the full. The closer I approach death, the more I realize how important it is to try to make a difference and one of the best things I can do in this regard is to show kindness to other people. Another is to leave a worthwhile legacy for those who remain or yet to be.
But the words of the mene give much comfort. And when I die, as die I must as must we all, unless the Lord comes beforehand, I hope I will have served my Maker and those he has put me among. In a few years, especially looking forward to the generation yet to be born, I will be forgotten as most are. Regarding funeral arrangements, I would prefer burial as that is more in line with my theology and yet if it is more convenient and less costly to do something else then so be it. As for my estate that is for the family and any charitable causes they choose. In the interests of efficiency, I suggest a funeral service first for family mainly, followed by a memorial service and any who would like to say something they should, but it should give glory to God and the gospel should be preached, and since I like food, then a nice spread afterward. No flowers, and if people want to give it should go to help the poor.