The classic line from the 1999 supernatural horror film, “The Sixth Sense,” came back to me this week. "I see dead people." Everywhere I looked, I was reminded of two very special people whom I loved. They touched my life and forever changed my future. This week marked the anniversaries of their deaths.
Thirty-three years ago my pastor and mentor died. The Rev. Dr John Brooks was the one who helped me discern my call to ministry. He was like a second father to me. Six years ago my mom had lost her battle with cancer. She put up a good fight. She was the embodiment of courage. She believed in living every day until God called you home.
I wish I could tell you that the pain of losing them was something I got over. It’s been a hard week. Some of you have been there. The truth is that you never get over losing some one you love. I remember my dad saying to me, "I wish I hadn't loved your mother so much. Maybe then it wouldn't hurt so much today."
The truth is that death stinks. When someone we love dies, a part of us dies with them. You can't ever get it back. It's like a part of you has been cut off. The world tells you, “Just move on. Get over it. Pull yourself together." The truth is that it's not that easy. The pain often runs deep and touches our very soul.
It takes time to get past it. Take it from me, the pain never completely goes away. I like the quote I saw the other day. It simply said, "When it comes to grief, I wish people knew... that it takes a different amount of time for everyone and that it doesn't go away, it just changes." That's so true.
I've done a lot of funerals over the years and one thing keeps coming back to me. It is the hope of the Gospel. The apostle Paul says, "But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep…." He goes on to say, "For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive."
This thing that the apostle Paul speaks of is a hope that says, in Christ, we will meet again on the other side. We will gather with the Lord, and those we've known and loved, in paradise. I can tell you this: It is something to look forward to down the road.
So with that being said, I can now live my life and cling to the precious memories I have. Every time I think of them, I can smile and thank God that I was blessed to share my journey with them. That is my secret. Trusting and believing. I pray that if you are missing someone today, you can find your peace there too.
The Rev. Cal Lord is pastor of Central Baptist Church in Westerly.