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Death Is Having A Good Season

June 12, 2018


I gave a eulogy yesterday.

A great man lived over 90 years. He created a full and great family with an equally loving, smart and compelling woman, combining two large, fully loving families across the Midwest, Canada and history.

The funeral was a fulfiment – the 91 years of devotion and care had been layered upon layered to the point where every participant in the ceremony was both extolling and fully accurate to perhaps 400 well dressed people in Buffalo New York.

But the context extended beyond Buffalo. The media has been awash in those others we all “knew” in the 2 dimensional world with shocked reporting of those who had ‘everything” ending everything.

But they clearly did not have “everything”

No one does.

My beloved friend came pretty close. Despite polio and being ripped from Home and Hearth to run from Hitler, his 91 years was all consuming engagement, interaction and achievement.

Not just the 2 dimensional kind. He had the love of children and grandchildren, 6 siblings, and his wife and her scores of relatives. He made things, did things and loved many, who loved him too. Including me.

He also, quietly, loved God. He knew he lived in a context that was not 2 dimensional, and a good bit more than the 3 dimensional realities of our lives. That reality is now easy to dismiss as self-deceiving fantasy. You are loved, accepted and live beyond this time and place. If it was deception, it was incomplete.

Having done so much, he desperately did not want to die. He loved, deeply, the here and now. He went to wherever he was going last month holding the hand of his wife, his here and now for over 60 years. No joyous expectation of the Great Beyond, just the sad reality that what he loved, and who loved him, were leaving him over a 6 month decline in the comfort of home.

No tragedy, much to be grateful for, faith in a God who loved him too, but what was in him, all of us, is sadness. Loss. Ending.

In the midst of all the joys of money, achievement and yes, fame, there were others who found ending that love preferable to doing the very thing my friend wanted; to move the world he made forward,

But our cells degrade, no matter what we do. And other cells need to survive and sometimes kill us to live – cancers, virii, bacteria are as deadly as cars, guns, water even red scarves.

Life is a switch.

You are “On” or, well, “Off’. Or maybe it is a channel changer. We do not know. So most of us try to stay alive, liking this place. We eat less, sweat more. We avoid risk. We have doctors.

But some of us do drugs, booze, sex, gaming, binging to create a here and now of distraction – the switch does not exist if you create your own channel changer.

The ultimate remote control for your 2 dimensional life is suicide. It is there for all of us, all the time. Some end physical pain. Some end confusion. But ultimately our channel gets changed whether we want it to or not.

In that decision we weigh the values and rewards and pains and threats of our 3 dimensional lives, no matter what is there in 2 dimensions.

But for me there is clearly, undeniably, more than 3 dimensions. The reality of God is like the air I know will be there with each unavoidable breath. That reality was made present to me while I was so young that I do not have the desire to change channels. This is the channel that was given to me. It was created for me, and you.

But if you know that you made all the dimensions there are, you can change the channel, even if it is using the ‘Off” switch.

If that “Off’ switch is used, it simply cannot control all the channels if there is more than 3 dimensions. Love is not ended by any of us because it was not made by us – and it is shared, bound between more than you, more than any dimensions.

Love is clearly a dimension I do not understand. I know how deeply flawed I am, but I know I am loved. And I cannot control it. It ends up controlling me. A bit disconcerting.

That loss of controlling the essential can make those who live in 2 or 3 dimension want to get to a place they understand, and control.

The “Off” switch ends power, it does not reveal or confirm it. The power we have is not ours. The power of love has no “Off” switch, because God exists whether we are in our 3 dimensions or not, let alone the 2 dimensions we obsess over.

That love, or the loss of it here and now, causes deep pain and fear. The impossibility of controlling it, or really much else, compels some to confirm a power they never had,

Or they know these 3 dimensions are here and now, and part of that are those cells that fail us. All of us.

I will miss my friend of 50 years in ways I do not know yet, but will feel every day. Love saved my sad life 50 years ago, in many ways a gift of my friend. I wish I had some joy in knowing of some huge next channel or future, but I do not. But I have love. So do you.

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