Monday, November 1, 2010

Faithful departed

Heaven and hell. Life after death. Judgment day. Where will you be after you have taken your last breath from this world?

All these thoughts come to mind more strongly at this time of year when the whole mother's side of the family goes to the cemetery to visit our departed loved ones. Each year, I experience a paradigm shift on this particular day, the first day of the month. Instead of seeing each day as one more day of living, I come to realize that it is one more day closer to dying. I do not wish to discourage or sound depressing; I just try to imagine what's it like seeing the half-full glass as half-empty.

I am lying if I tell you that I do not fear death. I do, especially when I think of all the possible aftermaths of my loss. On the other hand, this tiny fear is overpowered by a bigger sense of excitement for the life after life. Death is merely a phase, a transition. I believe all those who have gone to rest are in hope of rising again and being with the Lord Jesus Christ.

My favorite Filipino glutinous rice especially made by Lolo.

Though going to the cemetery may sound sad and mournful, it really isn't all that. There is much merriment and laughter, too, since the yearly visits are one of those rare opportunities when big families can spend some time together.

During this once-a-year tradition, each family in our clan brings food to be shared with the extended family. There was lechong paksiw (a pork stew), sopas (chicken noodle soup), rice, chips and so on. To my delight, my grandfather made and brought his specialty, biko [pronounced /bee-koh/], which I haven't tasted in a long time. What a treat! It feels so good to be around family and feel loved. It's a great reminder that Jesus has overcome the world and has overcome death.

"It's the heart that really matters in the end..."

"No guilt in life, no fear in death
This is the power of Christ in me

From life’s first cry to final breath

Jesus commands my destiny

No power of hell, no scheme of man
Can ever pluck me from His hand
Till He returns or calls me home

Here in the power of Christ I’ll stand..."

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