Dad was gone. What next?
Bringing a spiritual perspective to daily life
When my dad died after a medical battle with cancer, and at a much younger age than he should have, I was asked by my family to deliver the eulogy at his funeral.
As I sat at my desk listening for what to say at the service, confusion, disturbed emotion, and unanswered questions swirled through my mind.
Dad was gone. What next? I knew the family would never be the same. What about Mom? Would my brother and sisters find peace despite his absence? Would I feel as complete without him?
While stumbling for words to put on paper, I felt a push in thought that prompted, "What are you waiting for? Get busy and write!" The mental shove jolted my attention.
Suddenly, a new view of Dad's presence at work in my life formed. I perked up. Our deep love for each other had not ended. I felt that this love was prodding me.
Dad was gone as a physical presence, but that encouragement from within felt like him tapping me on my shoulder, reminding me to get busy. He had always been a hard worker. He wasted no time when there was a job to do, and he raised his children, including me, to adopt the same active attitude toward life. When I felt this impulse to quit wasting time, I realized the industrious qualities Dad embodied were still very real and alive in my life.
My dad was not dead. "Dad is alive!" I exclaimed.
The confusion, uncertainty, and sadness about his passing lifted instantly. I was learning to think of Dad in a new way - not as a mortal who had disappeared, but as a spiritual presence alive forever.
I'm grateful for my study of Christian Science, which has helped me better understand my dad's life to be spiritual and eternal.
"Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," the textbook of Christian Science written by Mary Baker Eddy, explains that God is our life. As Jesus Christ taught, "It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing" (John 6:63, Revised King James Version). I take this statement to mean God, and not the body, is the source of all life.
Dad expressed life through the love he expressed, the good he did, and all that he accomplished. But according to Jesus, the life Dad lived didn't originate in a material body that was now gone. It came from God. And because God is eternal, the life God gave Dad never expired. It is eternal.
I learned with Dad's passing not to let the experience called death leave me standing in the darkness of sorrow, gloom, or despair. I could not be cut off from the light of his life which was spiritual. All the good he did, all the love he shared, all the care and affection he bestowed, came from a divine source, from God, the origin of all true and permanent being. And all that love, care, and affection were still coming my way.
Dad's life had not ended. It was immortal, and I could find his presence anew in the one Spirit of Life that sustains us all.
The same divine Life that animated and perpetuated Jesus is alive in each of us now. Existence does not end in death. Life is forever.
I know no life divided,
O Lord of life, from Thee;
In Thee is life provided
For all mankind and me:
I know no death, O Father,
Because I live in Thee;
Thy life it is that frees us
From death eternally.
I fear no tribulation,
Since, whatsoe'er it be,
It makes no separation
Between my Lord and me:
Since Thou, my God and Father,
Dost claim me as Thine own,
I richly shall inherit
All good, from Thee alone.
Christian Science Hymnal, No. 135