Thursday, March 12, 2009


Here's the book I'm reading. I heard the author speak on a Tulsa NPR station and thought it sounded good. It is 40 vignettes on the afterlife that are off the wall, but also probing. The book fits in one hand pretty well--Lara and I both read it while we feed Julianna. It earns a thumbs up from me so far-the dust jacket says the afterlife scenarios are "never previously thought of," but I know I've daydreamed about a couple of them. Perhaps they're something in the collective unconscious. Am I dwelling on the afterlife? It first came to mind when I tried to think of a good question for the Transforming Theology Conference (a few days ago). I also wrote this little bit in my journal.

Almost Four.

When she returned at fifteen minutes till midnight, we sat on the couch with her legs resting on mine—me finding it hard to take my eyes off my little girl—she told me that my father had told her that he remembered his mother. His mother had died when he was three and a half years old. His older sister was five, and their two older brothers were already in their 20s and married.
I had never given my grandmother’s death much thought as an actual event. It was more of a circumstance. My grandmother had died when my dad was almost four and my dad’s dad had died when I was almost four.
The circumstance became more of a event in time for me when my wife mentioned that my dad told her that he remembered his mother’s death. He and his five year old sister were at home alone with her when she had the stroke that killed her. He said that they had just finished eating cherry pie, and for the longest time my dad and his sister thought that if you ate cherry pie you would die.
Hearing this was odd to me. I had never heard this before. Furthermore, just that weekend, while Lara and Julianna were away and Wesley and I were home alone together, I had the terrible daydream that I died while Wesley and I were home alone with each other with Lara away. What would my child do? Would he try to wake me? Would he panic? Would he try to find my cellphone and start punching buttons? My son is almost four. He is now as old as my father was when his mother died. He is now as old as I was when my father’s father died.

Perhaps Lent has really soaked into my bones this year.

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