I said goodbye to an old friend this past week. He had fought illness for many years, always with great humour and unflagging bravery. But finally his strength simply dwindled and he left us. He was the jester who gifted The Songwriter and myself with an indelible wedding day memory as he hid inside our car when we left our reception, honeymoon bound. His intention was to accompany us on the journey, but his giggles gave him away and he found himself rather unceremoniously deposited in the middle of the road, not far from the church.
He is forever cemented in our wedding day memories, and happily so.
As human beings, I suppose we are hardwired for life. We fight on, even when retreat has been sounded. But I often wonder what our perspective is from the other side of the veil. Once we land upon those storied shores and survey our surroundings, do we shake our heads in bafflement at our previous struggle to remain stuck to the earth? Is the life to come so superior we shall marvel at our ignorance? I rather think that might be the case.
As we are now... gravity-glued humans, blinkered by our boundaries... we can really only suppose what awaits us. Our faith gives us clues for which there are many interpretations. Though we all hold tickets for our passage, none of us has yet taken that journey so none can say for certain what it holds. But I have always felt that the opposite of faith has never been doubt, but certainty.
And I am content with the mystery.
I think I shall see my friend again in a different land and I hope, from his new found dwelling place, he occasionally peers down and laughs at the limits of my knowledge of wonderment.
I wish him Godspeed.
Does the road wind up-hill all the way?
Yes, to the very end.
Will the day's journey take the whole long day?
From morn to night, my friend.
But is there for the night a resting-place?
A roof for when the slow dark hours begin.
May not the darkness hide it from my face?
You cannot miss that inn.
Shall I meet other wayfarers at night?
Those who have gone before.
Then must I knock, or call when just in sight?
They will not keep you standing at that door.
Shall I find comfort, travel-sore and weak?
Of labor you shall find the sum.
Will there be beds for me and all who seek?
Yea, beds for all who come.
by Christina Rossetti
Painting by Sir John Everett Millais