For this perishable body must put on imperishability, and this mortal body must put on immortality (1 Corinthians 15.53)
In the time and space of this world,
being what we know
and, for now, I think…I believe, all we know,
there is birth and death and all that comes between.
Birth we experience in that we are born,
But, I think, not that we were conscious of being born.
So, it is left to us, awake and aware,
to pay attention to the moments of the births of others;
when, then we can be cognizant of what it is to come into this world.
So, too, with death.
(For in that inexorable end of our temporal-spatial mortality,
I do not think that all, even most of us will know, can know,
in conscious witness, that instant of
the final close of our eyes,
our last breath,
and when all earthly thought is absorbed in infinite vision.)
By taking notice of the end of the lives of others,
we can be alert to what it is to depart from this world.
I wonder. If there, as there is eternity,
will we remember this life in this world,
which, for now, is all we…I know?
Will I remember – and these are a few of my favorite things(1) –
the smell of the freshly mown grass of carefree childhood summers…
the scent of coming rain, the patter of the heavenly font watering the earth;
afore, the intense darkening, then, after, the bright clearing of the sky…
the aroma of coffee signaling the coming of a new day of adventure…
the comforting taste of melt-in-your-mouth chocolate…
the redness of love’s rose and the lily’s resurrection-whiteness…
the hummingbird’s frenetic flight and the bumblebee bouncing flower to flower…
the silken tender touch of care or the melody of a gracious word caressing my ear…
the evocative, eloquently-turned phrase, stirring vivid thought and fervid feeling…
Will I remember? I don’t know. I pray so.
But if not. If eternity is as the cosmos, ever-expanding,
thus, to dwell in that Great Beyond
will be to be too far to reach back in remembrance,
then, now, today and alway,
as long as my breath and sense prevail,
I shall relish these few and more of my favorite things.
(1) From My Favorite Things (1959); words and music by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein, from the musical, The Sound of Music.
4 thoughts on “Eternal Remembrance?”
This was FASCINATING Paul!!!! I too hope to remember all of the most amazing things I’ve done in my life!! I’ve been present when three people in my life died… my bestif Kris’s Mom Jodie, my sister and my husband….In all cases it was quiet and peaceful as they slipped away. I was present an hour or less after three special people died when their souls had already gone but their bodies still remained in the room…. my grandmother and two aunts, and most recently Kris’s dad two months ago. I thought I be afraid of their cold lifeless bodies, but it gave me an opportunity to say things I wanted to say. I’ve often thought of my own death because I’ve been fairly close to it a couple of times. As I laid in my hospital bed, I recounted and replayed in my head some of my favorite times as if I wanted to remember one last time if I couldn’t take the memories with me. I’ve added thousands to my memories since that time of my illness, and I too pray I can take them with me. I hope the popular saying about money “you can’t take it with you” isn’t true for our memories. Unlike money, I treasure my memories and want them forever.
Thanks for making me think on this Saturday!
Loretta, your expression of your desire to retain your memories after you die immediately reminds me of an olden story told about Charon, who, in Greek mythology, was an aged man who ferried the souls of the dead across the Styx and Acheron Rivers to Hades (both the god of the dead and king of the underworld and the place of the dead)…
As the story goes, a woman had died and Charon was transporting her to Hades.
He said: “I can grant you the gift of forgetting every memory of your life in the world.”
She answered: “I would like to forget my troubles, but will I remember my joys and all the good things?”
“No,” Charon replied, “you will remember nothing forever.”
“Then,” she said, “no thank you. For if, in being rid of every memory of my trials, I will not remember my joys, then I want to remember it all.”
This tale, for me, captures my desire. I pray to recall it all.
Thank you Paul!!! Wow, I had never heard the story of Charon and I loved mythology!! I so appreciate you sharing it!! I too would have chosen to keep all my memories!! The good and the bad cause it makes us who we are!!
You’re welcome and thank you! For, on second thought, that, spurred by your comments, I recalled the Charon story is a demonstration of the power of memory aroused in the serendipity of a given moment of stimulus.
Now, in the sobering light of a new day, if you pressed me (or I pressed myself!) for an opinion, I would say that when we die to this world, we do not and will remember our lives in this world. But that it my mortal-awareness thinking/talking. For, truth be told, as I opined in my poem, I don’t know. What we do know is that we desire to remember. And, as we live, that’s good enough!