--My Sunday Journal
OUR SOULS STORE BEAUTY
In 1992 in my journal I wrote, "I saw a breathtakingly beautiful butterfly outside my window today and soon was musing on its short life. I cannot help but ask, "Why?" when I see something so beautiful destined to die in such a short time.
I became silent and listened for some truth to help me understand and accept the short life of the butterfly. These sentences came to me: "Don't fret these short lives. You and all living creations have changed form innumerable times yet you remain intact in your essence. You remain intact through all the changes. I am that which preserves the beauty of all your phases and stages and rolls it up into your essence and keeps it intact forever. See the beauty of it all rolled up into the core of your being and evolving through all the changes."
This brought great comfort to me. Not only that the beauty of the butterfly is preserved and rolled into something that will remain a thing of beauty forever but that all the beauty I behold and experience in all the days of my life is somehow engrammed into my very soul.
My sister Norma's birthday was three days ago. She died at the age of five. A picture of her hangs on the wall at my sister's house. I have never seen a more gorgeous child. Again, I must ask why such a perfect child lived such a brief life.
Mother was six months pregnant with me when Norma died. The doctor told her she would lose me if she didn't stay away from the hospital where Norma was dying with a strep infection of the blood. He told her she would probably miscarry if she attended the funeral. Mom and Dad had just moved to Chattanooga and all their kin were buried in Decatur, Alabama so my Dad rode a train with the body to Decatur and went through the horrendous rituals of burial alone. A few months ago I stood looking at Norma's headstone and thanked my father for taking on so much grief and pain so I would have a chance to be born.
He was a minister. How did he keep his faith through this avalanche of pain?
Every year on the anniversary of her death when Dad came home from work and sat down at the kitchen table, he or Mom would say something about her death and they would both quietly sob. Those quiet sobs still break my heart. The only two times I ever heard my strong father cry that way was on the anniversary of Norma's death and the night his own mother died with her head in his lap. It is one of my saddest memories.
I acknowledge I do not have the kind of faith they both had. I cannot accept that old "will of God" line of comfort. But those words that came to me when I pondered the death of the butterfly do give me comfort. And my comfort is mainly in those words about "essence" and "form."
Our bodies are the forms we take to experience this dimension of being. We tend to identify with them so profoundly that we miss the simple fact that the reality of our being is in our essence or soul. The meaning of the Biblical word "soul" is "the real self." My faith is that all the beauty we ever apprehend is safely and securely stored away eternally in our soul.
And so it is with all the loved ones we have lost. All the love we had for them and still have for them is stored in their essence. And just like my flowers that bloom again every year, they will bloom again in our lives no matter how many times we change forms. We, too, will bloom in their hearts forever and ever.
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