Death and a birthday..!

Today as I opened the Times of India, and saw the obituary for the great grand mother of the twins who have entered my life. I felt a sense of sadness, because it was also their birthday! And in my home there was happiness about celebrating their first birthday, with all we four grandparents around, and yet sadness that two of the grandparents had to come down from America to attend the funeral of their mother and mother in law.
We cut a cake and sang joyously for the little fellows, even as we printed the words of Abide with Me for the funeral service tomorrow.
It was death and life dancing together, one a slow dance of memories and recollections, and the other a joyful caper, a twirl and a whirl, a spin and a jiggle, but both movements blending intricately! How like all our lives this is, isn’t it? We feel broken as we hear about the death of a beloved friend or relative and then rush to the hospital with an expectant mother, and hear the first newborn cries!
And then my thoughts go to Good Friday and Easter. We mourn the death of Jesus, and try to imagine his agony, and the gruesomeness of the crucifixion, even as we know that in three days we celebrate a risen Lord!
And finally, that’s what it is all about; a celebration! And those happy moments during a time of sorrowing are a reminder that even the sad times we are going through needn’t take us down in despair! That a baby’s cry at a funeral service could be to tell us that the person we grieve for is starting the beginning of a beautiful life beyond our imagination. That even at this moment that person looks down and wonders why we grieve.
I see the twins grabbing their cake, see the gleam in their eyes, and know that God in heaven is sending a message to those in my home; “Grieve no more, for even as what you think is death, for me it is birth into a place I have prepared for you!” With these thoughts, let me join the others and sing not in sorrow but in exultation:
I fear no foe, with Thee at hand to bless;
Ills have no weight, and tears no bitterness; Where is death’s sting? Where, grave, thy victory? I triumph still, if Thou abide with me.

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