Anyone who is among the living has hope—even a live dog is better off than a dead lion! For the living know that they will die, but the dead know nothing; they have no further reward, and even their name is forgotten. Their love, their hate and their jealousy have long since vanished; never again will they have a part in anything that happens under the sun. Ecclesiastes 9:4-6 NIV
Being fully acquainted with having loved ones in my life die, I understand the hurt–the grief that accompanies that occurrence–especially when a life is taken through a meaningless, spiteful act. I know only too well what that feels like.
However, I also understand that we are born to die. Before we are ever conceived, our days have been numbered and even though we don’t like to think about it–it is a reality of life. Perhaps, just perhaps, if we approached life with the realistic expectation of knowing we’re not here to stay, we’d live better lives. And perhaps, if we understood that death is a part of living, we would be able to accept the inevitable and move on, without reopening wounds of grief–never allowing them to heal–with constant reminders to self and others that someone we loved, has died.
Before anyone thinks that I am totally dispassionate about the loss of loved ones, let me assure you that I am not. Every year, whether I am consciously thinking about family members or not or friends who have died, I remember them on their birthdays. When they died is not a special memory to me since I’d like to forget that, but I always remember their birth and the role they played in my life. That’s my choice of course as it is with everyone else, but what I discovered is that with each passing year, when I don’t agonize over their deaths, healing becomes more complete.
I know there are people agonizing over the deaths of someone they loved and they want others–who didn’t even know them–to agonize with them. How do I know? They are constantly reminding everyone they can on social media about when someone died. And every time they openly agonize with their posts and tweets–they reopen wounds and delay healing. At what point in the lives of the living will the stench of death seep into their lives and accelerate their own death?
Open wounds stink and if not treated, they become infected and spread poison through our bodies. Constant grieving and mourning leads to depression and other health issues that can be alleviated if we understood how to remember those who died without opening wounds–the hurt and agony.
Instead of remembering their deaths with constant notifications to others and the RIP’s, we should instead remember their living–how they caused us to laugh or the lessons we learned from them. That is a celebration of their lives–not a continuing mourning–remembering the good and the bad, but thankful for the opportunity to have had them in our lives.
Since we are reminded in God’s Word through Solomon that the dead know nothing, why are we spending time at grave sites talking to them? They cannot hear us and if they could, I’d like to imagine they would say–“Go and live your life before your time comes.”
When my youngest brother died from a gunshot wound inflicted upon him by my mother, I refused to go to the grave site for the burial. But then one day, I decided I had to have one last conversation with him and walked five miles to the cemetery. After finding his spot, I talked, laughed and cried, and left and never returned. It took me a while to realize, he was not there–just the remains–a skeleton of who he was, but I would always have the memories of his living within me.
We have the memories of their living–whether good or bad–lingering with us and hopefully those memories will help us to live our lives to the fullest–allowing healing to take place and not delaying it.
This is the day The Lord has made so let’s rejoice and live it to His Glory!