The Inevitable Reality

“People once believed that when someone dies, a crow carries their soul to the land of the dead. But sometimes, something so bad happens that a terrible sadness is carried with it and the soul can’t rest. Then sometimes, just sometimes, the crow can bring that soul back to put the wrong things right.”[1]

Just as the stork is associated with bringing a baby into this world, the crow is associated with carrying the soul out of this world.[2]  Movie ideas, old legends and other belief systems have a mass of stories about birds bringing death (or life).  Many of these are so very fantastical and one has to wonder how they ever came to be.  One of my guesses is that perhaps it was simply an attempt to make sense of the unknown.  While you and I may not believe in babies coming from storks or crows carrying the soul, there is one thing that is real… life is real… and death. 

Last April, I had the honor of officiating my grandmother’s funeral and I thought I’d share some excerpts from that, and maybe it will help with perspectives when you lose someone that you truly care for…

—–
Strong.  That’s what we must be through this time.  Jesus once told his disciples, “Let not your hearts be troubled: believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you.”[3]
God also tells us, “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you; yes, I will help you; I will uphold you with the right hand of My righteousness.”[4]

When you lose somebody that you truly care for, there is generally never anything you can do to really prepare you for that moment…that sudden realization that they truly are gone.  Nothing really prepares you for it.  Nothing seemingly can console you… at least on the surface, and at least not right away. 

Things like this stand to have the power to truly shake one’s foundations if we let it

There are, many times, so many questions.  Where do you turn?  Where do you go?  What do you do?  How does one even begin to try and face the reality of it, or deal with it, or cope with it?  How will you get through it?  What happens to us when we die?  And sometimes the biggest question… Why?

I don’t have all the answers.  But… I know someone who does…

This is someone who can help you, and support you, and encourage you, and comfort you.  One who can pull you up when you’re down.  One who has the ability to pick you up when you’ve reached rock solid bottom and there’s nowhere left to go.  One who can show you the way… who can truly light the way.  One you can rely on.  One who cares… truly, truly cares.  One who won’t turn His back on you… ever.  One who will always be there.  One who can bring you through it all. 

He once said, “Come unto me, all who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest,” …and I know this is true.[5]

His name… is Jesus.  He will do it, if we turn to Him, if we lean on Him… trust Him.

“Life is not measured by a body, longevity, earthly success or the praise of men.
In many ways a person’s life is measured through relationships.  The single most important relationship is with Jesus Christ.  Heaven is a certainty for those who have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.”[6]  I encourage you, if you have not done this, ask Him today… talk to someone, seek Him, and build that relationship with Him.

I don’t know what memories you have about your loved ones, but I encourage you to always remember them.  Remember the good times, the fun times, sad times, the funny times.  Keep them in your hearts.  Cherish them.

My grandmother liked to work with her hands.  Whether it was when she worked at the factory making bulbs, or a floral shop putting the wire in the artificial flowers, or cooking up some great food for people when they come over, or gardening around her house, and even making stained glass pieces for the windows.  She was always working with her hands…  Over the years she had made various home-maker items for around the house, like shelving, window boxes and picture frames, or she would take an old piece of furniture and refurbish it, fix it up like new to be used all over again.  If it was wood, she could probably do something with it.  I remember a large wooden mantle around the fireplace she had made… an amazing piece of craftsmanship.  The most fascinating thing that I think she made was not one, but two, Grandfather clocks, over the years.  Some years ago, she bought a kit, and built herself this beautiful Grandfather clock.  Her sister loved it and wanted one, so my grandmother gave that one to her, bought another kit, and built another one for herself.  A talent that God gave her.  A carpenter.

As my grandmother created these beautiful, intricate, handcrafted, one of a kind pieces of work, so God created and continues to shape and mold each and every one of us.  “Yet LORD, You are our Father; we are the clay, and You are our potter; we all are the work of Your hands,” so says the prophet Isaiah in the Bible.[7]
Sometimes we ask those questions, when we just cannot seem to understand what is going on.  We cannot understand why certain things have to happen, happen to us, why people have to die when they did, why we have to lose loved ones, why we have to hurt or go through these situations in our life.

In India, you can find the most beautiful silk woven sari’s that men have made with their own hands.  It’s an amazing thing to watch and to see come together.
“A father and son team makes each sari.  The father sits on a raised platform on the loom with huge spools of brilliantly colored silk threads within his reach.  The son sits on the floor in a lotus position.  They hunch over their work, and their eyes focus on the pattern emerging with each move of the shuttle.  Back and forth, back and forth.  The father gathers some threads in his hand, then nods… and the son moves the shuttle from one side to the other.  A few more threads, another nod, and again the son responds by moving the shuttle.  The process is repetitious.  Throughout the process, the son has had a much easier task.  Most likely he has often felt bored.  Perhaps his back aches, or his legs have gone to sleep.  Perhaps he has wished for some other calling in life… something he might find more stimulating or fulfilling.  He has but one task, namely, to move the shuttle as directed by the father’s nod.”[8]
Looking at it through the process, and especially near the beginning, it all looks like a jumbled mess.  Chaotic.  One has to wonder how on earth they are going to make something so beautiful in the end with all of this.  “Yet the whole time, the design has remained in the mind of the father as he held the threads.”[8]   In the end, once all is said and done, they will finish the sari, a woman will come across this sari in a shop, and see it as the most beautiful piece of clothing she could want, and buy it for herself.

“Now, if an ordinary weaver can take a collection of colored threads and create a garment to beautify the face,”… and if my grandmother could take a simple piece of wood, and shape it, carve it, piece it together, and in the end, turn out with a beautiful piece of work, “is it not possible that the Grand Weaver,” our Potter… God, “has a design in mind for you,” and for me, as He had a design for the loved one who has gone in your life, “a design that will adorn you as he uses your life to fashion you for His purpose, using all the threads within His reach?”  All we have to do is move the shuttle when He nods.[8]

 
In memory of Christine Powers, October 26, 1919 – April 18, 2008

[1] The Crow (1994)
[2] http://www.mythencyclopedia.com/Be-Ca/Birds-in-Mythology.html, http://members.tripod.com/thecrow/myth.html
[3] John 14:1-2
[4] Isaiah 41:10
[5] Matthew 11:28
[6] Rev. Todd Curtis, Burge Terrace Baptist Church
[7] Isaiah 64:8
[8] Zacharias, R. (2007) The Grand Weaver: How God Shapes Us Through the Events of Our Lives, Zondervan Publishing http://store.rzim.org/product/tabid/61/p-65-the-grand-weaver.aspx


 

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7 comments to “The Inevitable Reality”
  1. Jason – Beautiful! Just beautiful! Your Grandmother Powers would be so proud of you as I’m sure your mom is. God has blessed you and those around you.

  2. Jason, I so enjoyed reading this – what a beautiful tribute to your grandmother! A wonderful tribute to our Lord – He deserves our highest praise.

  3. Son, what a wonderful message to share, Thank You! Isn’t it amazing
    what that “Grand Weaver” is capable of doing in our lives, if we just
    make ourselves available to Him? I know that Mamaw would be proud of you
    and so humbled at the same time.

  4. Jason, that was a most beautiful tribute to Mamaw. She would have been so flattered by your writings and the glory given to God (the Potter). I’m so proud of you & all your accomplishments, you are doing great things. Thank you for sharing & remembering, this was a wonderful Valentine’s Day gift.
    Love & God Bless,
    Erica

  5. Yes Jason, very beautiful! Death really does make you think. Faced with death this last week, I have had much opportunity to ponder all sorts of things. It’s hard to believe and accept when someone we know is here one day and then gone the next. The inability to control or change the situation is difficult. We want to talk with them and see them again but we just can’t. It’s so easy to go through life getting caught up in all of our day to day affairs and taking for granted that our loved ones will always be there when we get around to fitting them into our busy schedule. But the thing is that they will not always be there. And neither will we. Do we wait until the last minute to let people know how important they are? Do we put off spending time with them, taking an interest in their lives, giving them a word of encouragement, helping them, or just telling them we love them? “I’ll get around to it”, “Maybe tomorrow, or next week,” we often say. But life ends in an instant. And once it does, there’s no going back. The biggest question I have been asking myself this last week is this: Am I truly living my life according to God’s priorities…or mine? For God to fashion us into something beautiful and wondrous, we must first be attentive to HIS instructions. And when we see his perfectly timed and precise nods, and promptly move the shuttle, we will be able to touch the lives of others in abundant ways with the love of Jesus Christ, and also come to know for ourselves a life that transcends death. Who and what are we living for??? I don’t want to miss the boat.

  6. Thanks Kipp, Mom is finally in a place of no more suffering with our Lord. I know all that had the fortune to know her through her life were truly blessed. Thanks for the rememberance. May God Bless, Love Steve

  7. Well put my friend. I am sorry to hear about you Grandmother, God bless her. I understand what your saying, in my experiences of duck an goose hunting, outdoorsmen alike say that waterfowl bring the change of the seasons. When they migrate thousands of miles southward even in the dark of night with some sort of un-canny navigation guiding them, we know that fall is coming, and when they migrate back from Mexico to Canada we say they bring spring with them. This is the lifecycle of waterfowl. As an outdoorsman I have the priveledge to see and appretiate this wonder, such as Sandhill cranes they are a sight to see there organic flight formations, and the sound of there calls is like a distant orchestra, which only occurs a few moments a year in Colorado, and if you get a chance to capture the moment you are truly blessed. What I am trying to say is certain moments in each individuals life makes them realize how precious life truly is and how short it is.

    We might associate certain animals with certain occurances, and believe them to be true with the depths our hearts, but the important thing is Life itself. As the Stork brings life, and the Crow takes life, be happy to be part of new life when it enters our world, and cherish and remember the good times and memories of those we knew, as there life has been taken from us. It is our jobs to continue someones beliefs, so in this manner they truly live on forever in our minds and in our hearts.

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