I have been reading the Life Of Samuel Johnson, brilliant writer, teacher, author of the first good English dictionary, man of the world and extremely devout. In one of his letters he spoke to life and death and in particular- to grieving. He explained how for good people grieving, that is missing dreadfully a person in your life, agonizing over issues you may have handled better when she or he was alive never goes away.
Instead, again for good people, it matures into reverence. You take the best of elements of that person’s life and act them out in your own. You value them, hold them up to be esteemed – their kindness, their work ethic, their own reverence for good things, maybe the way they made you laugh. And when you do that you please them because while you are separated by the corporeal we know that some things will pass that barrier – your acts of reverence and in the other direction grace. So reverencing those who have gone on enriches your own life. Indeed you more you do so the more powerful in faith and goodness you become.
And in that wondrous manner, even closer than you were in life, you are still talking one to the other.
I have spent a few days trying to understand and this morning I was sitting out on the front porch and finally understood what he was talking about. And when I did, maybe I was hallucinating, but for an instant a beloved niece who has passed on flickered in front of me making that sign with her hand like someone shooting a pistol meaning “you got it.”
And I had.