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Turning mourning into dancing

Bringing a spiritual perspective to daily life

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Most people had told me in the days leading up to the funeral that burying one's mother is as hard as it gets. I won't lie and say it was easy. It wasn't. I did shed some tears. But I can say now with a heart full of gratitude that the death of someone I loved deeply wasn't a train wreck. What prevented that, I feel, was a deep desire and prayer to understand more about God and His creation.

I know what I've just said may sound trite. Or like I'm in denial. Or maybe that I didn't care about my mom that much. None of the above. As I said at the very end of my eulogy, "I pray that God blesses every child with a mother like mine."

The foundation of my prayer was a Bible verse from Psalms, "Thou hast turned for me my mourning into dancing" (30:11). I read that verse while sitting in the hospital room with Mom, and it invigorated me like ice water splashed on my face. I felt hope and peace. I knew God was right there, with me and Mom and everybody else in the hospital. I knew that God would show us how to turn "mourning into dancing." Not long afterward, Mom went to sleep - the first rest she'd had in days - and a few hours later she peacefully passed on.

During those final hours, I really began to understand who and what Mom was - a wonderful expression of God. Her substance wasn't a material body sustained by a heart that would eventually stop beating. I began to see that her substance was totally spiritual, not subject to death.

I must admit, it was tough to see beyond what my eyes were showing me, a human body apparently on its last legs. But instead of giving in and accepting that was all there was to life, I prayed harder. With great expectation, I silently asked God over and over, "Shepherd, show me how to go...." That's the first line of a prayer written by Mary Baker Eddy, the founder of this newspaper.

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