crux of the argument: your soul is what is real. The Bhagavad Gîtâ also reminds us: "The wise grieve neither for the living, nor for the dead." That is to say in Hindu philosophy, there is the possibility of coming to an internal condition or state in which whether life is lived in the physical body, which has been called a prison, or outside that prison, it is all the same. The soul uses the body as an instrument, without attachment to it. I think that is the heart of Psalm 30, where two images are evident: 1) going down, death, silence; 2) coming up, life, praising. God has delivered believers from one state of being to another more permanent state of being.
Nobody likes to lose a family member or friend to death. It is a reminder of our own mortality, but more importantly it is the loss of a piece of our own essence. My friend Jeff Wagner has had a tough break he has battled through two rounds of leukemia and thus far he is cancer free. But in treating Jeff during the second go around, the treatment has paralyzed my friend from the waist down. Jeff was an amazing athlete and this paralysis has devastated the once vibrant, energetic individual that many in this community know and love (CHS Class of 1981).
Standing in the shadow of Jeff, I admit he casts a pretty big shadow. Always the optimist, I just thought it gave me more room to spread myself. But we formed a friendship bond that will last forever, throughout eternity. Jeff's wife Kim Wagner and mother Vera Wagner have been towers of strength for Jeff. They have displayed remarkable courage throughout Jeff's illness. This is a courage which most people never know exists until they are pressed by the ugly issues in life caused by illness. Sadly, it is a challenge we all may face with a parent, spouse, child, brother, sister or friend. Jeff told me that doctors believe there are three possible causes for the sudden paralysis: 1) Something transferred during the bone marrow transfusion, 2) Places where he was stuck numerous times with needles, and 3) The medicine imported from China he was administered was contaminated. Despite being paralyzed, Jeff has much to live for: the most important reason is that Christ continues to work through him to reach others for the kingdom.
One of the greatest mysteries of faith is how we use our talents and abilities to serve God, using the spiritual gifts at our disposal. It is just ordinary people doing extra-ordinary things. First Corinthians 12:7 says that gifts are given "for the common good." 1 Peter 4:10 says we ought to "employ our gifts for one another." We all have a unique role we play in God's Kingdom. Just knowing my friend Jeff Wagner has been a blessing in my life. Like I wrote to him quoting Robert Frost-"The woods are lovely, dark and deep, but I have promises to keep, and miles to go before I sleep, and miles to go before I sleep."
You can spend the rest of your life dying well, or you can choose to spend the rest of your life living well. I know what I plan to choose. My favorite English Teacher Dianna Johnson would not forgive me, and I would be remiss if I failed to mention what the great Jacobean poet and preacher John Donne wrote: "Death, be not proud, though some have called thee Mighty and dreadful, for thou art not so; For those, whom thou think'st thou dost overthrow Die not, poor Death, nor yet canst thou kill me. From rest and sleep, which but thy pictures be, Much pleasure, then from thee much more, must flow, And soonest our best men with thee do go, Rest of their bones, and soul's delivery. Thou art slave to fate, chance, kings, and desperate men, And dost with poison, war, and sickness dwell, And poppy, or charms, can make us sleep as well, And better than thy stroke. Why swell'st thou then? One short sleep past, we wake eternally, And Death shall be no more: Death, thou shalt die."
--J. C. Bowman is a public policy analyst who resides in Cleveland, TN..
He can be reached by email at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Visit his website at: www.policyexperts.net