Down the street from my house is a church. The church has a beautiful garden in the front; it’s dedicated to someone who died.
Often when I need to think I’ll sit on one of the three benches around the outskirts of the shrubs, on the one hidden from the streetlight by the waterfall. It was particularly pungent this time.
The person who died was one of my closest friends growing up.
The garden is in their honor.
There are three kids in my memories. One was just married this weekend, and it was my pleasure to be in the wedding. The other is beholding the glory of God with an unveiled face. The last is myself.
I didn’t know it was this garden that bore their name when I moved in it wasn’t a planned thing. But now I’m glad I’m near their last physical memorial.
Death, the final pang of the fall, the last twinge of the fight of faith, the bittersweet road that must be traveled by all, it is the end.
Spiritually, death is beautiful.
Physically, death is tragedy.
Memorial-ly, death is falling snow.
Never again will the memories of those gone be as pure as it was when the person was there to shake away the constantly falling snow. But the snow never stops, and as soon as they’re gone the snow begins to distort the real them, soon they’re what we want them to be, all the good and none of the bad (C.S. Lewis).
Yet, this applies to more than the dead. It applies to every relationship we’ve ever been a part of. Either we remember only the bad, or only the good. We’ll never get the whole picture right. The situations are too complex for our minds to remember ever little piece, too many subtleties, too many.
But we can still learn from the memory. We can still look to the breaker of the curse. We can still be fond of those gone.
And we can celebrate the friends we still have, those ones which marry and laugh, the ones who’ll be there tomorrow, the ones who text in the night. Because all of life isn’t death, and all of eternity isn’t sorrow, because there is Jesus.