When it comes our turn to go

Maramis Choufani is the Managing Editor of the Las Vegas Tribune

ON A PERSONAL NOTE

When it comes our turn to go

By Maramis

While passing away — that is, moving on from this life to the next — has always been something we must all go through, it seems that relatively few people actually prepare for that significant event. It seems that such an event can either be ignored until a much later time, or entirely ignored, as if it weren’t going to happen to them.

I suppose our usual rituals surrounding death contribute to that mindset. And it shouldn’t surprise any of us. We cry. We write eulogies. We plan and hold funerals. We talk about the deceased as though we might never see them again. We look at them in their caskets and cry some more, wondering if we will ever see them again.

We sit quietly in our seats, whether in a church, a synagogue, some remote quiet place, or even at home, alone. We sit and cry, try to distract ourselves with the TV, or fidget over some unimportant thing — anything to take our mind off the reality of what we know actually happened.

We grew up hearing about people who died; old people we didn’t know; athletes or sports’ figures who played a little too hard in their field or as we came to see them on the large or small screen, maybe some we even admired and strove to emulate in some way; and of course, some people we did know — one parent or another of one of our friends, an elderly aunt or uncle or grandparent, or even a neighbor down the street. 

We could hardly escape seeing death all around us as a child, and surely people didn’t stop dying when we got older. Maybe we just got more used to it, until someone we loved very much died. But we had to know that people close to us would die too.

At some point in time we probably came to the realization—or maybe just the realization that there was a good possibility—that there was a lot more to this reality of dying than we previously thought. We might have presumed that there would be an afterlife in which we’d see our loved ones again, but we didn’t give it the thought that it deserved, and probably just felt about it as many others do: we die, we either go to heaven or hell (if we believe in them)—and we end up in the same place as our loved ones (hopefully heaven), then we’ll simply have a continuation of our relationship in a way that amounts to “happily ever after.” If not, well….

Yet as much as we loved certain people on earth, we never saw them as perfect, and we know they didn’t see us as perfect either, so how would it be “happily ever after” for eternity between two imperfect beings that not only had their occasional squabbles, but sometimes wished they could get some time away?

That’s where the need to give some deep thinking to this thing called the afterlife comes into play .While I can’t tell anyone from my own personal experience what will happen after one dies,

and we can’t necessarily believe all the stories people tell of their experiences during the time that they were believed to be dead, we can probably believe that something happened during that time and that it more or less corresponds to their beliefs about such things before they were considered deceased.

But even those who never had such experiences have had thoughts of that nature. Helen Keller said, “I believe in the immortality of the soul because I have within me immortal longings.”

And Goethe exclaimed, “I am not dreaming! I am not deluded. Nearer to the grave new life streams for me. We shall continue to exist. We shall see each other again.” Goethe also viewed nature as “the living, visible garment of God.”

I know I’ve always wondered about the afterlife, which means I also collected information from more than one source about death itself, and here list several facts that I came across and pondered. And believe.

1)We are the lowest level of freewill creatures in the universe.

2)God is everyone’s Father, yet to be resurrected, we must exercise faith in him.

3)After resurrection, we start our new life right where we left off on earth.

4)We go into a sleep of survival and when we awaken, we’ll recognize everyone we knew on earth and they will recognize us.

5)Most of us have heard of the mansion worlds, and that’s our first stop. We get time to look around, visit with family and friends, and in essence, enjoy that “vacation time.”

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