In the Confessions, Augustine wrote of the great pain he experienced when a dear friend died from fever. "I wondered that other men should live when he was dead," he wrote, "for I had loved him as though he would never die. Still more I wondered that he should die and I remain alive, for I was his second self."
The passing of my father has been and will be no less difficult for me than that of Augustine’s friend to him, I am sure. Death is a painful, piercing thing, going straight through to our innermost parts. Platitudes or reassurances -- no matter how true -- cannot deny this fact.
But my father had something even sharper than death, something that divides soul and spirit -- the Word of God. It tells us that one day the earth will cast out its dead. One day those that lay in the dust will rise with songs of joy in their mouths. He knew this. His illness wasn’t an easy one, but he could face it because he trusted in the God who forgives sins, the God of every comfort, the God who is returning soon.
Meditating about his friend, Augustine concluded, "Blessed are those who love you, O God, and love their friends in you and their enemies for your sake. They alone will never lose those who are dear to them, for they love them in one who is never lost." For those of us who share my dad's hope, this soothes the sting. He has entered into his eternal reward. We will follow after him soon.
Friday, December 11, 2009
My father died unexpectedly last night after a nearly six-year-long battle with a malignant brain tumor. Although I do not speak too openly about spiritual matters on this blog (I'm aware that readers' religious convictions are all over the board), I wanted to share something that I wrote a while ago in preparation for his passing. After all, Dad loved talking about faith even when it made folks a little uncomfortable. What better way to honor him?
Posted on Friday, December 11, 2009