I feel like Neo after he’s seen beyond the Matrix, Alice after she’s fallen down the rabbit hole. Up is down, down is up. This life is the dream. The “next life” is reality. Death is to be celebrated. Birth is entry into the school of hard knocks. The fallen are The Risen.
The book I’m currently reading is called The Risen and I really like that term for those we think of as dead. Just within the past several days I have two friends whose mothers have made the transition, one friend whose good friend has and another friend whose dog has. A friend I met on Facebook called me earlier this week. A friend of his found her 17 year old healthy son in his bed Sunday morning. His spirit had left his body. Death is all around me now and it’s only going to become more so as in just over a week Tywana and I start leaving a grief group.
During the DNC convention, there were mothers of children who were killed in gun violence, fathers of soldiers killed in war, families of cops killed in the line of duty. Commonly they refer to their loved one as the fallen. It makes sense. When we “die” our body falls. But, if you’ve ever looked at a loved one in a casket, you might have had the same feeling I had when I saw my grandmother in that casket when I was 13 years old. I looked at her and I thought “That’s not her. Mom is gone. It hit me immediately that body had just been a shell- a house she carried with her for her journey here and her spirit had moved out.” When the body falls, it’s easy to think of our loved ones as fallen because we identify them with their bodies. After all they hug us with those bodies. They kiss us with those bodies. We look into their souls through those eyes. But, they are not their bodies any more than you are your body. When they “die”, they take that body off, like an old worn out coat. They slip out of it and they do not fall, they rise. They are not the fallen, they are The Risen.
And yet we mourn. We miss their physical presence. We weep. We miss the times we were supposed to have with them. We scream. We’re angry at the injustice of what’s been taken from us. But, it’s not been taken from them. They are Risen, yet, they are still with us. They are still cheering us on. And one day, sooner than we think, we will Rise to be with them.