It’s June. The month when Minnesota exhibits full life again, shows green again. Violets, Lupine, and daisies are in bloom. Mornings are serenaded by bird choirs. Life is sprouting all around. Overhead is a tarp shaped into a tent. It’s blocking the midday sun. I’m standing on some kind of rug, walled in by others. Shoulder to shoulder we stand, shifting to accommodate more as they approach the makeshift shelter.
Faces all marked by sorrow. There is only the sound of shifting bodies as we file into this small space. The shape of the shiny rectangular wood box we face is matched by a dark hole in the earth — a small mountain stands to the side. Is it covered by fake turf. For some reason, I think there is velvet here. I don’t know where or even what color. I just remember velvet. And soldiers. The soldiers that will shoot the guns, further puncturing my heart by their sound.
”Ashes to ashes, dust to dust.” Familiar words, but this time, the rock on my chest weighs heavier.
”From dust you came and to dust you will return.”
Life ceased for my dad — and our life was put on hold. To remember. To say goodbye.
White and red roses rest in small hands. Pretty girls, cascading curls cradling their downcast faces . . . men, young and old, darkly clothed, their eyes are graven too.
What are their hearts feeling? How can I hold them and who can heal them all? I know, I know. Jesus alone.
This sorrow, it feels a lot like choking.
It was 2014, but I remember it like it was yesterday.
We’d just spent three days of happy remembering and painful grieving. How can such joy and sorrow mix? We celebrate life and mourn death — the same day.
My heart is in a knot.
Moments ago there were smiles and I know those sweet faces will resume radiance again. Life this side of the box brings smiles even on the darkest days.
But we will all have our own day in the box next to the hole of the same shape. “To dust you will return.”
”Jesus” I hear Your name every time I hear of the dust as I stand in this space under the makeshift tent on top of the origins of all earthly things. The dust that is under the rug I stand on. The dust that you breathed your Life into when you first made our father, Adam . . . I hear the soothing words again, “Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord who was raised from the dead. He conquered sin and death and the grave.”
Oh, Jesus. For those who know You, this shiny box marks not the end, but the start of a new Day. A new and free Day! For those who have turned to You and believe in Your grace, those who have said “yes” to You — have already in that “yes” moment, received eternal life in their body — sometime before being laid in the box. (John 1:12)
The tent of the body will return to dust, yes. But the soul . . . The soul has come Home! (2 Corinthians 5:8)
The soul that is seated in Christ has left the tent that will return to dust — but the saved soul is really eternally ALIVE! (Ephesians 2:6)
Thank you Jesus, for coming to rescue us from the dominion of sin and death, and thank you for transferring us into the Kingdom of Life and Peace in You. (Colossians 1:13)
1 Thessalonians 4:13 But we do not want you to be uninformed, brethren, about those who are asleep, so that you will not grieve as do the rest who have no hope.
The way to this satisfying hope: John 11:25; Romans 5:1-2; Romans 10:9-10; Acts 2:38-39; Acts 4:12; Isaiah 45:22