Thursday, February 28, 2008

Today I have found myself with many reasons to ponder death. Bryce and I had the opportunity to attend the funeral of his grandmother yesterday. It was a nice day and a spiritual experience to hear the many testimonies of love and faith that were shared by her loved ones. Also, a long-time friend of mine, Sonya, is doing a school project on Death in the human experience and was asking me about family ghost stories, of the non-campfire sort, today.

I am a little surprised at my own feelings about the spirits of deceased people. I found myself repeatedly thinking, “Gosh, I don’t have any ghost stories at all.” Just as I would think that I would remember a time when my grandma saw a spirit, or when my cousin had a dream about my great grandpa. I was actually surprised to realize that I even know how to identify a spirit messenger if one ever appeared to me!( http://scriptures.lds.org/dc/129/4#4 if you are curious.) It had always been something so normal that I didn’t really even realize that this might be something unique.

I also realized how hard it is to explain the role of the LDS temple, and even the concept of spirits to someone who did not have a good foundational knowledge of what Latter Day Saints believe. Particularly people who do not know about the Plan of Salvation,

http://www.mormon.org/mormonorg/eng/basic-beliefs/heavenly-father-s-plan-of-salvation/god-has-a-plan-for-your-life

I am a little surprised at the lack of mystery that death holds for me. As we sat behind the coffin of Bryce’s grandma it never once occurred to me that she was actually in the coffin. I knew her body was there because I saw it, but I never thought that her spirit was. I never even wondered about her spirit, except to think it must be nice for her to be reunited with her family members that had gone before her. I never thought at all that perhaps this was the end of her, and it is not until this morning that I am realizing that not everyone has such a, not dispassionate, but un-curious outlook towards death.

I know it is normal to grieve a loss, but I cannot imagine despair, or uncertainty at the death of a loved one. I also cannot imagine seeing a spirit as being something impossible. I also cannot imagine how I lived this way for my entire life without ever once thinking this might not be common to everyone else around me. Interesting, the things you find out about yourself once your mouth gets going.

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