Last Christmas season I attended the most beautiful celebration of life, in other words, a funeral. Now before you begin to wonder about my sanity, let me explain...
I had not expected that day to attend any thing other than a funeral for a friend whose dear one had passed away. We entered the small hushed chapel and instantaneously I felt the presence of God, an omnipresent Spirit of peace lingering, hovering in the somber air. But it was not a sad peace at all it was a serene, restful tranquility. As the service progressed the pastor read a beautiful poem written by Mary Oliver called When Death Comes. It reads not like a poem to death but like an anthem to life. I include it here for safe keeping. What a fitting tribute to a well lived life.
When Death Comes
And therefore I look upon everything
as a brotherhood and a sisterhood,
and I look upon time as no more than an idea,
and I consider eternity as another possibility,
And I think of each life as a flower, as common
as a field daisy, and as singular,
And each name a comfortable music in the mouth,
tending, as all music does, toward silence,
And each body a lion of courage, and something
precious to the earth.
When it's over I want to say: all my life
I was a bride married to amazement.
I was a bridegroom, taking the world into my arms.
When it's over, I don't want to wonder
if I have made my life something particular, and real....
I don't want to end up simply having visited this world.
By Mary Oliver
New and Selected Poems, Volume One