Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Learning from the departed

I changed my layout with the NEW DESIGN! feature of blogspot, and now I can't change it back. !!!


So many conflicting emotions. So many chances to screw up. So many chances to do the right thing. I wonder sometimes if I'm special, if God gives me attention for some reason that I'm not aware of... because I am a royal screw up when it comes to my faults, like neglecting my prayer rule, feeling self important, indulging in self pity, giving up when things are just a little difficult, being weak, succumbing to pride, offending others, giving in to anger, embracing passions, following temptation, being a bad influence, manipulating people's emotions, and not being a good friend; just to name a few. Why do I get communication from God when I don't even deserve it at all? Why does He answer my prayers? Why does He show me such generous mercy? Why does He even give me the time of day?

I know why of course; God loves me and will not forsake or abandon me, ever - but I push Him away at every opportunity. What about all of the other people? People who died in car crashes, war, drug overdoses, suicide, or just out of sheer stupidity, like I almost did when I was almost scrubbed by that train 20 years ago? What about all of those people who did get scrubbed by the train? Didn't they deserve God's mercy as much as I do? Why do I get this chance when they didn't? Untold, countless millions of people, probably billions throughout the course of human history, who died without ever having any hope, who never knew God's love, and who now have to experience God's love as eternal pain instead of eternal joy. Why does God pay special attention to me? I have a chance, but I waste it every second of every day. Why do I get the chance? Why me?

I pray for the departed. Esther Moses (grandmother), Jim Moses (grandaddy), Alice Davis (grandma), Joseph Marion Davis (grandpa), Jason Melton (my friend from the message boards, who I actually knew as ICE) and Larry Walters. Those are the departed I include in my prayers, when I actually take the time to pray. I hope... hope hope hope that there is hope for the departed who were never as fortunate as myself, who died in anger or sadness or ignorance of God, who were so far away from God when they died. There has to be hope for them. Otherwise, why should I have hope? I don't deserve it. There HAS to be hope for the departed, the ones who never got the chance that I have been given.

After my grandmother died, I talked to Leah about it. I was concerned about what was happening to her. Leah told me that for the first three days after my grandmother died, she was simply in the presence of God. Just there, with God, for three days, being close to Him. I thought about the kind of life my grandmother led. She was a Roman Catholic and she kept a crucifix above her bed and a little container of holy water on the wall next to the door of her apartment, but I don't remember her ever going to mass. I know she wasn't perfect... she was selfish, manipulative, maybe even a little evil (I won't go into my reasons for saying that)... but she was my grandmother and there was love in her. How was she experiencing the presence of God for those three days? How is she experiencing it now? I worry about that.

I'm not ready to die now. My three days would probably be very frightening and painful - not to mention all of eternity. I'm afraid of what would happen to me if I died now. How would I experience God's love? What about grandmother? Grandaddy? Grandma and grandpa? My dear friend Ice? Or Larry Walters, the poor soul who tasted happiness once when he flew above Southern California in a lawn chair tied to 40 weather balloons, but ultimately killed himself out of sheer sadness? What about all of them, and all of the other people who have died before and since? Jesus told us that the path that leads to heaven is narrow, and only a few will succeed in finding their way. How many is 'only a few'?