April 14, 2011

Seasons of Beauty

     The sun was shining and all of the beauty of spring was revealing itself, from the trees' budding lilac flowers to the sun streaming down from the sky.  As we pulled up into the driveway we were stopped by a man with purple flags in his hand.  We rolled down the window, he greeted us with the simple words, "It's a beautiful day to be alive."  His words could have been taken as irony, considering we were parking for a funeral mass.  But his words swaddled around me, and I simply thought to myself that it truly was a beautiful day to be alive.  I had been preparing myself for the sad faces and broken hearts that usually greet you at a funeral, but today was an exception.  It was as if everyone had got the memo, it was a beautiful day not only to be alive, but to celebrate a life well lived.  The man had a large family, countless friends, and had left a loving legacy throughout the community.  It seemed fitting that although it was still a sad occasion, the day was simply gorgeous and many of the family was warmed by memories of their loved one.  The service was filled with up lifting words, like these from the Book of Wisdom:

"But the souls of the just are in the hand of God, and the torment of death shall not touch them. In the sight of the unwise they seemed to die: and their departure was taken from.  And their going away from us, for utter destruction: but they are in peace.  And though in the sight of men they suffered torments, their hope is full of immortality.  Afflicted in few things, in many they shall be well rewarded: because God hath tried them, and found them worthy of himself."

Hearing these words put my very tired mind at ease, for all of those who have gone before me and for my own tired mind. Not only was that particular day a beautiful day alive, but even on the stormy days and turbulent times in my life, I can rejoice in knowing that I'm in the hand of God. As we were pulling out of the church parking lot, with the windows down and sun streaming in, I felt such a rush of joy come over me...Every season of my life so far has been beautiful, just in the way God intended me to see and feel it. I just need to learn to ride out the storms without stress, since I'm in His hands.

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