Faith Article for September 27, 2017
Here’s what you get to take with you
By Chuck Robison
I stood at the foot of my father’s bed in Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas on October 9, 1975. My mother was standing beside my dad and we had arrived at the moment we all knew was coming and dreaded to experience. The night before I had fed my dad his last meal. He said to me then: “I never dreamed it would be this hard to die.” The pain was unbearable. The cancer had gone throughout his whole body and his bones were no longer able to support any part of his body.
As I watched him tell my mother he loved her for the last time and then close his eyes, I saw his soul leave his body. As it did, there was a strong wind that moved counter clockwise around the room and it rattled the venetian blinds that covered the three windows facing Walnut Hill Lane and then it passed through my body and I knew at that moment that my life was about to change completely and in the most dramatic ways. The wind went on around the room and left my mother with a look of total abandonment. And then it was over and my Dad was gone forever.
And then the big question hit me: What was he taking with him? Certainly not his ruined body, none of his stuff, no money or tools to use in the afterlife, as has been the custom all over the world since time began. No pictures or good luck charms. Nothing one could see at all.
But it became clear to me that he was taking the same things with him that I would take with me, and you will take with you when it is time to leave: His feelings and his memories. That’s it.
We are told that upon arrival on the other side of the veil, we will be met by the souls who have travelled together with us for countless lifetimes and we will realize that each of these souls have been our dearest teachers and most important relationships. Even those we think are our earthly enemies will be revealed to us as the closest of spiritual friends. And we will discover that in making them enemies, we forgot not only who they were, but who we are as well.
We all fear the unknown of death. We fear being judged. But, the truth is that on the other side of the veil, we will see ourselves as God sees us: powerful spiritual beings who are forgiven, loved and eternal. And we will see that all those things that we did here that brought ourselves and others pain, were nothing more than the parts of the drama we came here to use as a means to make our souls grow.
But they have resulted in bad memories and ruined experiences. And it is sad that many of us will not even have a glimpse of who we are until we walk through the veil.
But that can change….instantly. Jesus used the words sin, sinner, sinning and sins no more than twenty-two times in all of his teachings. But love and forgiveness were words he used constantly. And he urged us to love each other, even the people we hate because they have hurt us. He even asked us to pray for them. Now why would he do that? Perhaps he wanted us to get used to the truth that things are not what they seem, and today’s earthly enemy is heaven’s most powerful teacher.
What if we could take only happy memories and loving feelings with us when we go? Pie in the sky? I think not. If you knew that each person in your life, regardless of what he did to you, he actually did for you, for you to grow. If we knew that, then anger, revenge, judgement and condemnation would be of no use. We could forgive anything.
It’s possible. And as each of us learns to forgive, even when it seems to make no sense at all, we will begin building up a storehouse of good memories and loving feelings, which we will understand only when we see each other on the other side.