Christians and a de-convert’s reactions to death
This week a lady died at our church. B- was a wonderful, smiling person who was always a pleasure to chat with. She was also a talented artist. In fact she is single-handedly responsible for all the icons in the church. She also taught iconography (either the history and theology, or the actual painting, or both) to most of the folks in the church.
Her death was sudden, but once you’re over 80, death can’t be too big a surprise. At least B- went peacefully. Sunday she was her usual self – I exchanged a few words with her – and Monday she took a nap from which she didn’t wake up.
So now I’m watching folks react to B-‘s death.
My own first reaction was, “Whoa! She seemed just fine Sunday. What a shame. We’ll really miss her.” Since then, the rest of my thoughts on her have been about what a neat person she was and of all that she gave to others. Her art, her teaching, her kindness, her example of humility. In so far as there is such a thing as a Christian standard for living, then, in my opinion, B- is one of the few examples of it. Heck, if being Christian made people become like B-, they wouldn’t be able to put up buildings fast enough to hold all the converts.
So far the reactions I’ve seen from Christians has puzzled me though. They are almost uniformly hang-dog about it. Lots of long faces and mourning. This doesn’t make any sense to me.
In my Christian days the peaceful death of an old person who has lived a full and good life, seemed only mildly sad (because I’d miss him/her) and mostly good. After all they were now free from suffering, in the best of all possible places, and I’d see them again in that happy place in a few decades or so. I felt only mild sadness and I enjoyed reflecting on that I had learned from the dearly departed.
Nowadays, I don’t expect to see B- again, but I still enjoy reflecting on her life, her art, and what I learned from her. And if she had to go, I’m glad she went so peacefully.
So y’all help me out here. Why are the believers all mourning like their own baby just died? The only response I’ve gotten so far is, “I’m just gonna miss her so, boo-hoo-hoooooooo.” Seems rather self-centered to me. …… Of course, cynic that I am, I think the faith of most Christians is entirely self-centered.
Ah well. Any of you de-cons think you can figure this out for me? Why all the anguish?