Thursday, June 25, 2009

The Consolation of Faith?

Ira Byock, M.D, reflects on "What is the consolation of faith in the face of death?"

4 comments:

Geoff said...

That land connection to death that Ira's "Grady" speaks of is another way to get at expressing the "rightness" of death. Grady (sounds anyway) surrendered to his death, as part of the natural "human procession" of which his family, and his family's burial plot is part. There is almost a sort of "coziness" about the way Grady (through Ira) talks about this.

So too Captain Billings, over on My Morbid Obsession, is eager to ensure that his body goes "back home", but the context of his death is pretty much horror, with only the minister--the one who carries messages and makes promises--as a vague link to his family. Outside of the minister, there is nothing cozy in this death. There is mostly suffering.
How would we fare in Billings' place? How well could we surrender to the situation, let alone death, without loved ones, far from home. Did they even get the message that he was wounded, he wonders.

It seems good to me to hold ideas about life and God loosely, so we're open to new impressions, ideas, intuitions. But, in the end, the house has got to be built upon a rock.

Sukie Curtis said...

To pick up on Geoff's ending, being part of the earth and the processes of the earth seems to me (at least a this point, from a place of relative health and absence of misery) not a bad rock on which to begin building.

Perhaps somewhat the way Darwin found some consolation from pondering evolution in the face of his daughter's death....

Reef said...

The sense of connectedness to the land, family, history or tradition - the "rightness" of death as Geoff put it - these are very different things in my mind than the "consolation of faith." To know in a visceral and physical way that one belongs to the earth and to all that has come before and will come in the future isn't really be the same thing as having faith in something one cannot know in such a primal way. Can it?

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