The Path of the Holy Fool Series, (Part 5 of 7)
Rev. Kristin Powell
4/22/12 Barry and Joyce Vissell
Giving & Receiving Love
“Surely Your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life.” (23rd Psalm) God loves us so much! It is something that is with us throughout our lives. Death is our final adventure. In it, God has planned for us the very best. But we live in DOD– denial of death. Death, however, is an experience in holiness.
Many years ago Joyce’s mother came to her and said, “When it’s my turn to die, I want you to be excited for me. I know you will find a way.” She said it would be the greatest gift her Creator would give her. Recently, it happened. Over the weeks, the Vissells learned death is nothing to be afraid of. It is a beautiful time of life. It is not the enemy, but to be embraced as an adventure. Louise, Joyce’s mother, told them, “I love my dying process so much!” Amidst all the pain, she focused on receiving God’s love. “I didn’t know I could love so much!” She was overjoyed to see and talk with Joyce’s father, who had passed years before.
It’s about love; living in love; giving and receiving love. Even a lifelong outspoken atheist is known to have declared with her dying breath, “Love is the answer!” Whoever has loved you in your lifetime– they still love you! –without the body, even more. They are there. People we’ve known are all helping us. Take time to talk to them. Ask them for help.
We live in denial of death. Rather than dread death, live knowing your loved one could pass suddenly. Live each day with this “knowing” and love and appreciate them when you are together. Expect the unexpected all the time. Don’t be surprised.
When the moment of Louise’s passing finally arrived, Barry said he felt it. He let go of his “office consciousness” and sank into the heart. He said entering her room was like “entering a cathedral, a most holy place.” He entered with reverence and thought she was already dead. Suddenly she shouted “Merry Christmas!” (it was the middle of summer), “Look at all the lights!” Louise had received her greatest gift. The Vissell family had found a way to be excited for her. Dying is as holy as birth.