The passing of a dear friend or relative is always quite the experience.
Depending on where our heart is at the time, the experience may come as quite a challenge, sometimes beyond overwhelming.
Twelve years ago when my grandfather was released from the body, I was not at my best.
I had reverted to my old self; where it speaks about returning to vomit and mud.
I had 'back-slid' quite far, believing myself at the time to have fallen from and far out of His grace.
I was self-destructive, full of bitterness, cynical, self-absorbed, arrogant, in fear of eternal judgement, hateful and was lashing out at friends and relatives alike.
Shortly after my grandfather passed, I had some success with a small business I started, and that 'success' added to my arrogance and pride.
A few years prior to my grandfather's passing, I went from loving and accepting my friends and relatives to despising them and, at times, verbally attacking them.
My attitude towards some relatives was dependent on my emotions and judgements of them, their lives and their past shortcomings.
I was condemning them according to gossips regarding events that occurred before I was born.
After the passing of my maternal grandfather, the patriarch of my and the previous generation, our family groups splintered and my critical eyes narrowed even further in judgment of certain relatives.
My character had become so stuck in the mud and had been so diluted by the vomit, I became a stench to my relatives and most friends.
Hypocrisy is rarely realized in the self until God grants a glimpse... but I was many times unwilling to even acknowledge my attitude, let alone consider the notion that it was me who had problems.
After writing some letters in recent years to certain relatives regarding my past trespasses against them, it was bittersweet and challenging to face them last week.
Seeing them at my grandmother's funeral was, to my mind, the greater challenge than facing the fact that my grandmother's spirit had been released.
I was fearful of sensing their distance, seeing forced smiles or feeling uncomfortable hugs.
I love my relatives.
I pray for them regularly, especially those who seem to never want anything to do with me.
It was so painful to me to find myself having fallen on my face before them all after having been so preachy, so self-righteous and so judgmental.
God served me a huge slice of humble pie... and it wasn't until ingesting it did I realize my frail humanity and His amazing grace, not only in my life, but in the lives of each of my relatives.
I wasn't saddened by my grandmother's passing recently as much as I was overjoyed that she was finally released from a body of slow decay.
I know with certainty that she is in His love and light now and for eternity.
This notion was doubtful to me at the time that my grandfather was released... and in my heart I was reflecting that doubt as a reflection of my personal spiritual outlook.
I think I saw this same reflection in some relatives recently at the funeral.
One cannot help but reflect on their own mortality when facing the death of another human being, even more so a dearly loved and honored person as my grandmother was among all of our relatives.
May God grant peace and tranquility to those who are called heavenward, so those who have yet to know Him may somehow be spurred towards acknowledging Him who dries tears of mourning and consoles feelings of loss.