Monday, March 17, 2008

Perpetual Light

i was at a funeral on saturday. another of my uncles died last week. his name was Michael. i didn't know him very well as he had separated from my aunt a long time ago. he had isolated himself from people he knew over the course of his life. by all accounts he was difficult to live with, but towards the end of his life, and his battle with cancer, in the final few weeks he made his peace with his family.

it was a strange kind of funeral, it didn't feel as sad as they usually do. strange because the priest at the funeral was my cousin, the dead man's own son. he was very professional, and there seemed to be an air of joy. i'm not sure if joy is the right word, maybe it was a general happiness that his suffering was over. it was also a time for the clan to meet up. cousins i had not seen for a while were there, some with kids that are growing up what seems incredibly fast. time passes, people are busy, and often it's only occasion like weddings and funerals that we meet up.

one side of the family are quite religious, they do have a priest after all. one of the other brothers we all thought might go into the priesthood, eventually got into politics and works behind the scenes at the scottish parliament. it was the wilder one who funnily became the priest. i wonder if it's that certainty of seeing people again in heaven that makes funerals less sad for believers. i don't have the same beliefs or the same certainty. this might be it, all there is. who knows?

but one of the prayers that my cousin said struck a chord:

eternal rest grant unto them, o lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them. may they rest in peace. amen

perpetual light. aren't those two words beautiful together? being brought up a catholic, the prayer wasn't unfamiliar, but i'd never really thought about it before. that's the problem learning things by rote, repetition doesn't always get you to think about what you are saying. perpetual light would need infinite energy. i like the sound of that too. infinite energy, say it out loud, hear the words in your head. i lean more towards fuzzy reincarnation-jedi-lion-king ideas about the afterlife.

what do you think? what happens when we go. do you think there will perpetual light, or are we snuffed out like a candle?

rest in peace, Michael. wherever you are.

1 comment:

Mike Dammann said...

I think that when we go, we either go to heaven or hell. I mean, I don't believe that either one is anything like we imagine. It's more like the state we will be in that will determine the good or the bad.
perpetual light is how I do imagine heaven though. I have been brought up Lutheran and know too well the weakness of repetitive verbatim. But I do believe in the afterlife, and love your post dude. Be well, and take care of your dad.