Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Outside Looking In

Today was an unusual one for me. I attended the funeral of Joy's Grandma, whom had passed quietly at a great age. It was a deeply religious service at both the crematorium and the church, and I had opportunity to observe the ritual and ceremony of the occasion. Once I would have been fully immersed, hanging on the scriptures, singing the songs, thanking God for the life we were remembering. I had chosen instead to adopt a respectful observance without entering directly into the religious aspect of it. This distance made me something of an observer, and I came away with huge respect for the love and the unity of the family of which I am a part. Joy's Dad was dignified and honorable, and his wife quietly supportive. Joy and her brothers, along with the rest of the family did what all families should do during times of loss. They came together. Whilst I do not share their beliefs I recognize that their Christianity is a powerful lens through which they see the world. I don't doubt that comfort was drawn, and they indeed hope for a reunion in heaven, perceiving this life as one stop along a greater eternal journey. Strangely, at no point was I compelled to reconsider my position. I do not expect to live beyond my death, but I do understand why the promise of something more is enticing. I love life and take nothing for granted, and as the token non believer I can safely predict that many would have been offering heartfelt prayers for the salvation of my soul at various points during the day. I love them for their genuineness and am grateful for the love they have shown me. They are fine people. Kindly, gentle, overflowing with many qualities I'd do well to aspire to. Joy's father in particular is a man I admire. He has been an exceptional son to his mother, a hard working and faithful husband, and a superbly involved father to his Children. He has raised three truly wonderful offspring, one of which I am fortunate enough to be married to. My upbringing compared to Joy's was far less tactile. I do not recall my parents nurturing me, or appearing to want to actively spend time in my company. I wonder if this is part of the reason why I was such an errant teenager? Could it really have been something as facile as attention seeking? An outward expression of an inner loneliness? Perhaps this is just conjecture, but it's clear to me that the nurturing Joy's parents gave their kids has served to produce three well rounded, supremely capable individuals. Only a fool would ignore that fact.

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