13 December 2013

Our limited perspective would be enlarged if we could witness the reunion on the other side of the veil, when doors of death open to those returning home. Such was the vision of the psalmist who wrote, “Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints.” -Elder Russell M. Nelson

In my teenage years, I intently looked forward to receiving the Readers Digest in our mail, only to skim the pages so I could read the jokes in the back. There was one joke, that apparently I found funny enough to remember 9 years later. It went something like this: I apologize in advance for butchering it.

... "I was talking to a friend, and I profoundly asked him what he would want someone to say about him at his funeral. My friend said, "well that's easy. I want someone to say, "look!! He's alive!"

I got a good laugh out of that one, (it's funnier at 13,) but in all honesty, when I die, that is probably the last thing I would want someone to say, because let's be honest, after 60 or 80 years of this mortality stuff, I'm pretty sure I will be more than happy to peace out and head over to the other side. I've pondered that joke a lot, and have wondered what words I would want said at my funeral.

Creepy or not, I want every person there to be rendered speechless; just content in the silence. I want my loved ones to simply sit there, and smile. They will smile because they will know how beyond excited I am to meet Nephi and tell Gordon B. Hinckley he was my favorite. They will be happy because they know I'll be wandering around aimlessly until I find C.S. Lewis, and Neal A. Maxwell, and bothering them to their wits end with my questions and intensely awkward compliments. They will know that I am running around trying to find each and every last animal in heaven, because my goodness, heaven wouldn't be heaven without the animals! But above all, they won't have a lot to say because all is well, life is how it should be, God is in control, and hopefully my feeble efforts in this life might, maybe, may... sneak me in to re-unite with my Heavenly Father and my Savior again.

Death is an interesting thing; an emotional concept. It sounded so scary when I was younger. Death was the last scene, the close of the curtain, the doomed ending where it all stopped. As I have walked through more pathways in life, and as my understanding of the gospel has developed, death is a beautiful five letter word; a five letter beginning. It is the final victory - the last triumph. And as my Grandpa, my incredible, beyond unbelievable Grandpa laid in his hospital bed, hours before his last breath, he feebly raised his arms and said, "I did it. I won the race."

I imagine that will be my reaction the day I pass. I might be weak and frail, but the joy I will feel won't be hidden. "I did it. I made it. Look at what I did. Look at where I am." All of this will be nothing but a beautiful journey, which to be perfectly honest, it is already starting to feel that way. 

I know there is life after death. I know there is forever after death. I don't really know what it will be like, but how amazing is it that because of the knowledge we have, we know there is more beyond all of this? Sometimes - but not enough - the veil is more thin. I have felt support and love from the other side that I cannot deny, love that has cemented my testimony even more. I am so grateful for all of this, and I cannot help but be overly grateful for all of it this month. It started with the birth of our Savior, and this month His life and ministry weighs so heavily on my heart. I'm grateful for His Atonement, and for what that made possible. I'm grateful for my Grandpa, who feels so near at times like these, and I'm grateful for a loving God, who so willingly allows me to feel that.