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Stephen Yusko
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Carpe Diem - I will not rest till I rest in Thee - God's joy is a person fulfilled in Love
Carpe Diem - I will not rest till I rest in Thee - God's joy is a person fulfilled in Love

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The Inconvenience of Death, Big Questions and the Clutter in our Mental Closets.

I'm no stranger to procrastination, and I sure do recognize a fellow procrastinator when I see one. I could no longer ignore the confession which took place just a few feet from my waiting room chair today.

At the dentist office, I overheard a conversation of woman who's elderly father-in-law passed away from an apparent poor decision to address a chronic illness with surgery. I was very disturbed at the conclusion she drew with regard to informing her three and five year old children about Grandpa's passing.

As with some millennial's, when asked about their religious affiliation, I'm pretty sure this mom would have checked the box "None".

Complaining about her in-law's propensity to procrastinate on decisions to the "absolute last possible minute" she began to reveal her own procrastination.

As she relayed her circumstances to the receptionist, she began with the self definition that she and her side of the family was "not religious" and what a farce it would be to be crying at any funeral memorial in church. It seems that any memorial for this man or his family would be a waist of time because she seemed to lack any emotional tie to her in-laws.

Her concern seemed to hinge on how to explain this to the children, and "who really knows what happens to you when you die?". Instead of grappling with the big question with her spouse, she seemed to justify her annoyance by stating, "Well I said to him, how are you going to explain this, I guess you want me to handle it?" She continued to explain her husband's dumb-found expression as she detailed the resolution to her conundrum.

The mom explained that her kid's recently watched the Disney animated film "The Princess and the Frog" and there was as scene where by Ray the lighting bug dies after being stepped on by a villain. The kid's mentioned Ray's death and resulting support of his fellow lighting bugs, who in essence explain away Ray's death as a birth as a star in the night sky. "Yes that's how I explained, my father-in-laws passing to the kids, Grandpa died and now he's a star in the sky, she exclaimed." What a lame story, an excuse even. This mom showed little remorse over her father-in-law's death, for what I gather she held a bit of distain for her in-laws, not to mention the inconvenience this death brought to her family. A teaching and consoling moment lost.

Instead of grappling with the big question of what happens after we die, we'll put this episode in the, "Time to toss the old shoe into the back of the mental closet" category. To be honest, this overheard conversation was a bit astonishing to me, especially when the receptionist agreed with her conclusions. Upon hearing this story, my pity and empathy seemed to arise out of it's slumber.

As someone who consider's himself "religious" and in formation for the Diaconate (God-willing, Ordained as a Deacon in the Roman Catholic Church this Spring), I have become somewhat curious about the "Nones", my own "Mental Closet" and grappling with the big questions, even consoling those who grieve, morn and face death. I have come to believe that death really has no power over us. The Creator, and Lord of the Universe has sent His Son, Jesus ,to bring us to new life. I do not believe we become "stars" or dissolve into nothingness, but I believe there is much more beyond the daily struggles we have in this life.
The Transcendent, became Incarnate, that's what we celebrate at Christmas. Through Jesus resurrection, He provided us a glimpse of what we hope to become after death, glorified and reunited with the God who loved us into existence.

I pray that this Mom and Dad become brave and ask themselves the big questions, what happens when we die, what does this all mean, and is this as good as it gets? I pray they make the time to share their questions and pray for faith, and go beyond just letting their children figure things out for themselves. There is so much for us to explore, so much to learn so much to do. There is a Person who transcends space and time who's truth can be revealed to us.

I was privileged to over-hear today's confession in the dentist office. I pray that when the opportunity arises to provide consolation, to be present to those suffering a loss that I may also be able to articulate the truth of our Faith in Jesus Christ, and illustrate the hope we have in the Resurrection.

It also reminds me to clean my closets, both mental and actual. 
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Secular musings - enjoy!


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Our "No Problem" Culture.

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interesting ghost hunting equipment
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