Tag Archives: Death

Greater Love

Greater love has no man, but to lay down his life for a friend.

Regardless of your faith, religion, or decision against, we all can appreciate this statement.

To Christians, Jesus took on all of our imperfections and died in compensation for all of us.

But there are others to whom this applies. Many have laid down their lives.

God knows, over the past twelve years there have been ample opportunities for young men and women to fall on a grenade or take a bullet for a comrade.

Yet, it does not always require death. Then there are the parents, especially many single parents, who put their own lives aside to provide for their children; not to merely provide essentials, but to prioritized a school event when they’re dead tired or to have more modest meals to allow for a school ring or a yearbook.

How many adults juggle both care of their children and care of their parents?

And what does this mean?

All of these things are heroic, and yet none of them are. We are merely following the example set by Jesus, our Savior. We are called to express our love for others above our love for ourselves.

So, on this Good Friday evening when Jesus was laid in the tomb, in earthly terms to rest; in celestial terms to prepare for the next phase. In any case, to be “put away” in one form, yet to return in another that is more, beautiful, more powerful, more wonderful, with the promise that His next return will be beyond comprehension.

With all that in mind, share a greater love, to someone, in some way. Call someone you loved, with whom you haven’t spoken in a while. Tell a family member what wonderful attributes they have.

You know what to do.

And, as you do, prepare for the stone to be rolled back from the empty tomb and share in the joy.

May the Lord bless you and keep you. May the Lord let His face shine upon you. May the Lord look upon you and be gracious unto you. May the Lord bless you, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, now and forever. Amen.

Not Quite Dead

You may know my name—J. Parrington Morrison, but I tended to mingle only with business associates who could in some way support my goals and objectives. I was always quite focused, which is how I flipped businesses the way others flip houses. I’d convince a venture capital group to buy into a business, kill off any long term efforts like research and development, training, and a lot of marketing. I’d pump what was left into current sales so that the quarterly financial statements looked good, then use a little creative accounting on the balance sheets. It’s the business equivalent of painting and putting in new carpeting—it looks better, but it’s still the same old house underneath.

I’d take my profit and move on while the new CEO, left with hollow company, would take the blame for the company’s demise two or three years later. I figured one good short term deal after another was every bit as good as a long term focus. I lived well, especially since I could write so much off my taxes, but there was one long term project. I invested some money in long term, extremely safe government bonds and treasury notes; I even spread it around different countries since you never know which country will prosper and which one won’t even be in the history books. Given time, it will put a king’s ransom to shame.

Then I bought time. Within seconds of my “death” at a ripe old age, a special team whisked my body away and carefully prepared me for cryogenic storage. Somewhere in a stainless steel tube, my body is now bathed in liquid helium or nitrogen or something, waiting for the day when medical science can bring me back and fix me. I have no idea how long it’s been, but I certainly didn’t expect to be aware while my body is waiting to be repaired.

The best way I can describe myself is “transparent.” It’s like I’m not all here physically, but I’m also very different mentally–transparent. It’s not like being a ghost—I don’t see places or anything living—but I sort of get glimpses of the dead. They also seem faint or transparent, but I only get a glimpse from time to time, almost like seeing something reflected in rippling water at twilight.

I never believed in an afterlife or heaven or anything, but the dead seem to be enjoying whatever they’re experiencing, and they certainly seem to enjoy one another since I never see any of them alone. They’re always together with someone or part of a crowd, and I can tell they are smiling, laughing, and sharing. Sharing is big with them; they share food and drink and who knows what all.

I’ve had plenty of opportunity to think—years? Decades? Centuries? Who knows? I’ve decided that I would be better off dead. Don’t forget—I should be. I should be long dead and forgotten by the world. My plan to be restored seems so pathetic now; why would I want to live in a world that will no doubt be totally different from anything I ever knew? Do I really want to grow old and “die” a second time, or a third? It was a great short term plan, but sucks as a long term plan—as in eternity.

I think what I get glimpses of is heaven, and if there is a heaven, then there must be a God. I never thought I’d ever say that; there must be a God. If God is everything I’ve heard, but always denied, He must know. He must know where I am, what has happened, and what I need. If I pray, maybe He’ll hear me.

God, uh I’m not too sure as to how to pray, but I guess You know that. What I’m praying for is to be set free from my attempt to bind myself to life. Let my frozen body release its hold on me.

He prayed for what seemed an eternity, his prayers eventually showing a bit of wisdom. He began to figure out what should have been important while he had been fully alive. He decided to accept whatever fate God had planned for him.

In a long abandoned laboratory, somewhere in what had once been called “Wyoming,” one of the stainless steel cylinders sprung a pinhole leak and vented the last of its liquid nitrogen. The cylinder began to warm, its contents, the body of someone once named J. Parrington Morrison began to thaw and go the way of all flesh.

Foreverness*

I know where I am, or perhaps it’s better to say I know where I’m not. I know I’m not dead.

Being not-dead is not all it’s cracked up to be. It was my choice, but I can’t say that it was a wise one.

When I was alive, I paid a lot of money to have my body cryogenically preserved so that when science figured out how to cure whatever it was that killed me, I could be brought back to life. I even careful financial investments to ensure that upon my return I would live in a grand style–an obscenely grand style.

I can’t see back to where the living are, so I have no idea how science is advancing, or how well my investments are compounding. Even though I can’t see the living I can see the dead.    They look translucent–not faded–kind of like they’re here and somewhere else  at the same time. Occasionally I feel that one of them senses me, or even almost sees me, but is not able to figure out just what that something–me is. Now I know how ghosts in all those horror stories supposedly feel.

The dead are happy—very happy. It’s like they’ve finally gotten to where they want to be. They smile. The laugh. They’re always in groups sharing something or another. I can even see the dead celebrating the various religious holidays.

I envy them.

I remember being taught to live like a spiritual being passing through a material world. I remember in Sunday School being told that Jesus said that there were many mansions in his Father’s house. As near as I can tell, what’s supposed to happen is that each of us lives our life on earth and then moves on. All of the dead that I see appear to have done just that.

I, on the other hand, by choosing to be cryogenically preserved, never completely died, and am held to my past life by the thinnest of threads. Maybe someday science will bring me back; but it’ll be to a world in which I have no friends or family—to world into which I will not fit. A world to which I do not belong. It’s like a fourth dimensional and near-eternal Man Without a Country.

The best I can hope for is a cataclysmic disaster or an unscrupulous worker to disconnect my cryogenic pod so my body can thaw and finally die. Until then, I just wait.

*Since I’m on vacation, I pulled up the unpublished drafts I had written (turns out there were 30 of them) and decided to make life easy and use one of them.

Thoughts on Death

charles-addams-now-play-dead

Nobody had more fun with death that Charles Addams

People stopped dying many years ago. Instead of dying, they passed away, then they passed on. Today, they merely pass.

People don’t like the idea of death. Many Christians look at death as the consequence of sin, and see their revulsion in both emotional and spiritual terms. Jesus himself was offended by death. When he entered the tomb of Lazarus in order to raise him from the dead, he reacted strongly to the presence of death. On the night before He died, he prayed that He be spared the suffering and death that awaited him.

Christians generally believe that there is a better existence in the next life than in this one. Many other faiths have similar beliefs, but most everyone believes that getting there is not half the fun. We seem to expect that it’s like birth – a bit of a chore.

Back when people died, they often died at home surrounded by family. Now they pass in the hospital surrounded by machines that make funny noises.

Back when they still died, the deceased was cleaned up, placed in a casket, and placed in the parlor.

Having grandpa’s body downstairs was the social norm but still kind of weird.  Morticians began to offer “funeral parlors” and the deceased was viewed there. Because of the previous macabre connotation, the “parlor” was renamed as the “living room.”

I noticed that many mortuaries now advertise “funeral apartments.”

I have to wonder if they expect a security deposit and references.

At least they don’t advertise “funeral condominiums.” Heaven only knows what restrictions the condo association would impose.

So we relabel, market, advertise, glamorize and use all our other skills to disguise the fact that people die. Some people convince themselves that they won’t die by cryogenically freezing their bodies in the belief that someday someone somehow will find the cure for what killed them and bring them back.

Even with Universal Healthcare, bringing back someone who died two hundred years ago is not going to be a priority.  Bottom line is that they’re just as dead – they’re just frozen spending a couple hundred years as a corpse-sicle.

Let’s just admit it, we’re all going to die.

When I’m dead and gone, you’re going to admit that I was right.

Celebrating Life

Tomorrow my mother is being moved to a hospice-like environment within the hospital where she was treated after her fall. Unlike a traditional hospice, this is a short term facility. The emphasis is to remove the hospital-like sounds and feel, so it’s a single occupancy room with no monitors beeping, no equipment forcing her body to work. We want to keep her pain free; we want her to have some peace and quiet.

In other words, we bow to God’s will.

Miracles happen, and I wouldn’t object to one by any stretch. If she were to make a recovery tomorrow, I’d be thrilled. However, the Bible reminds us that for all things there is a season – a time to be born and a time to die.

However, having said that, the focus among the family has been on celebrating her life rather than waiting to congregate after her death. My mother always said, “Send me the flowers when I’m alive and can enjoy them – not when I’m dead and gone.” We spent what time we could with her. We held her hand. We talked to her and told her we love her. We told her it’s okay to leave. She always said that this was more important than a lavish funeral.

If she leaves us, and as you can tell, I expect she will, I already have my plan. She loved hummingbirds, and collected little tchatchkies of hummingbirds which were strategically located throughout my parents’ home – somewhat to my father’s chagrin. Our front yard garden is a combination of shrubs, annuals and wildflowers. Much of it looks pretty god throughout the summer, but there’s a section that’s a bit bare. Next spring I plan on planting whichever flowers attract hummingbirds. I think she’d like that.

We never really let go of our loved ones. We merely move them from “Day to Day Contact” to “Regular Contact” to the “Hummingbirds’ Garden.”