Death is such an unexpected and unwanted thing. Even when you can see it coming, death always arrives too soon.
Bethany's grandpa passed away Thursday evening after a long battle with Lou Gehrig's Disease. Though it was apparent the end to his suffering was drawing near, he passed suddenly, unexpectedly and with some measure of peace and dignity.
Bethany and I both come from families of deep Christian faith. My family tends more toward the old school than her's, but the core beliefs are the same. The Bible tells us to weep at a birth and to rejoice at a funeral. Jesus' life was an example of love and belief and his death was the promise that we would all be together again when this world is no longer because we are more than just these shells of flesh and bone.
Patrick and I have often argued (in a friendly way) over differing beliefs, particularly the basis of faith. My understanding of faith is the simple belief in things unseen and unproven. If you ask me to prove to you the existence of God I'll point to a bird and defy you to tell me that it's here because of the random chance that gave birth to natural selection. You can't prove me wrong and I can't prove myself right, though I believe that I am.
Yet, if we're patient, sometimes we're handed proof of our faith. If we'll only listen and look at what's going around us and consider all those things we've been taught, we'll find proof of our faith. I certainly have.
I firmly believe we all have a soul. I firmly believe that accepting Jesus Christ as a savior is the path to Heaven and a peaceful afterlife. And I firmly believe that I witnessed proof of that in Henry's death. When I saw him this evening, laid out in his casket at the funeral home, it was the first time I'd ever seen someone who just wasn't there.
Everything that made Henry who he was had left that body. The permanent, impish half smile that he always wore was gone. The light that danced with easy friendship was gone from his eyes. Henry just wasn't there. And it was then that I remembered the pastor's prayer from the previous night, how he was thankful for the sacrifice of Christ that would allow us to find eternal peace and happiness after this life and I realized that moments like these are what bring us closer to God and that this was just more proof of beliefs I've held since I was old enough to think for myself.
This is far from the first time I've seen God keep His word to His children, only the most recent. I have faith that it won't be the last.