On Earth, the soul is invisible and it’s hard to believe in what you can’t see. –The Afterlife of Billy Fingers
My friend, Ann, thinks her dad visits her from the afterlife as a cardinal (the bird kind, not the Catholic kind or the NFL kind). Ann can be a little new-agey so when she first told me this, I snorted wine up my nose suppressing laughter. But then I researched it and, sure enough, it is a common belief that people come back as cardinals. As I write this a male cardinal is drinking from our outdoor fountain.
I’m experiencing waves of grief since my dad’s death but other than crying about it, I don’t know what else to do. In the daytime it is easy to keep my mind occupied but at night the dreams come and the funeral music and and and…
I’ve tried to find solace in believing my dad is watching over me now from Heaven; however, my mother is a Jehovah’s Witness so I didn’t grow up believing I would go to heaven (or hell, so that was in the plus column). Witnesses believe when you die you go to sleep and you get a chance to be resurrected and judged someday. If you pass judgement you get to live on Paradise Earth. If you don’t pass judgement you just go back to being dead. There are a 144,000 Witnesses that will end up in Heaven. All this to say, my father’s death has left me simply sad. I know he’s not one of the 144,000. He’s probably not even in the top 14,144,000. And I’m not thrilled about his chances (nor mine) on Judgement Day.
My cherry-picked version of an afterlife would be that I go straight to the pearly gates and check-in. Once there, relishing in sumptuous food and in the good company of foregone loved ones, we’d gather in Heaven’s media room to watch everyone we care for on Earth ready themselves for death (blink-of-an-eye stuff). Moments later we’d greet them at the gates and they’d exclaim, “What? If I’d have known it would be like this I would’ve come sooner…Oh, hey, Al!”
But I’m just not that confident. If I was a time traveler from the 1800’s and found myself looking at a Boeing 747 and some pasty guy smiled at me and said, “Climb onboard! This baby can fly!” I would most definitely NOT climb onboard because, F that. That thing ain’t flying. For sure I would push someone else in front of me in line. Until I saw an airplane go wheels up, I would just hang back from the pasty guy, eating a Cinnabon. Seeing is believing and let’s face it, airplanes really shouldn’t fly. It just is outside the realm of feasibility.
I’m fairly confident that at my own funeral no one will stand up and say, “She was a person of great faith.” It is far more plausible they might bring in Mr. Booher, who would confirm that, as early as the 4th grade, “She was a visual learner”.
My last words to my dad were, “Bye, Dad. See you on the other side”. I hope I wasn’t lying.
Blind faith. It’s called that because you don’t see what you believe. I need to just have faith in the unknowable. After all, however improbable it
is seems, planes DO fly. As does that male cardinal just outside my window. If I squint just so, he looks like he’s wearing overalls.