Yesterday I killed my cat.
It wasn't on purpose, Jasper was lying in the shade under our car in the hot afternoon and I was on my way to the grocery store. The sound of his skull popping under the tires will always be in my memory. He flew out from underneath and seized on the ground before dying.
I cried for three hours straight.
Dear friends, I want to say something to you now..
There is nothing beautiful about death.
Regardless of the fantasy, it is only made pretty within our own mind.
So many people fantasize about and romanticize death- myself as much as any other. I learned at an early age to see death as something beautiful, peaceful and poetic. Through death we let go of earthly constraints. Slip into oblivion. For those of us with faith, we are released from this world of sorrow to be in the eternal presence of our great and loving Saviour. As a dear friend reminds me, to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord- what could be more beautiful?
As a child I watched in admiration while the restless romantic Anne of Greene Gables slid quietly into a boat, pushed off from the shore, crossed her arms and recited that mesmerizing story of the fated Lady of Shalott.
Yes, for Christians the end result of death is glory. But the act of dying, especially when death is self inflicted or unnatural, is pointless and empty- not at all poetic and beautiful like it is so often made out to be. And I think this is where we become confused. Because death is not meant to be a release, but a progressive state. We die to self. Our body ages. We return to dust. We are changed into the image of our Maker.
Death, by itself, is not a solution.
But rather, as simple caterpillar morphs into breathtaking butterfly, it is the gradual process of transformation.