Thursday, May 29, 2014

Journal - Death and Nature

This is my journal page from Sunday. 

Journal page © Sandy Steen Bartholomew
 I found a new church to go to and I have continued my habit of drawing and tangling during the service. This minister has really interesting sermons that apply nicely to modern life and give me a lot to think about. 

This week, he spoke about Death and its natural part in the cycle of life. His focus was on our need to make peace with death so our own insecurities and fears don't prevent us from being there for others in our lives who are facing their own deaths. I realized that this view also can apply to a lot of other areas in life. Taking a step back and saying, "This is not about me. What does my child/friend/spouse need from me to help them?"

As for Death - I have always pictured it as a character rather than a natural part of life. With my background in archaeology and Egyptian studies, "characters" like the god Anubis (the one with the jackal head) and Hades have made it seem like there was someone actually responsible for the death decision. And Death was also a place... I imagined it as described, not so much by Dante, but by Phillip Pullman - I'm trying to remember in which of the books Lyra has to travel through Purgatory to rescue the soul of her friend? I should look it up, but I will just get distracted in the process. 

And then there is Death, the fabulous character in The Sandman series of comic books. She was my favorite character. Very sympathetic and kind. 

So. There are so many ways to think about death. And I'm sure I have a lot more to say on the subject. (But not today). This nature version is the most soothing. The minister read this great quote from John Muir, which served as the inspiration for my journal page:  

On no subject are our ideas more warped and pitiable than on death. ... Let children walk with nature, let them see the beautiful blendings and communions of death and life, their joyous inseparable unity, as taught in woods and meadows, plains and mountains and streams of our blessed star, and they will learn that death is stingless indeed, and as beautiful as life, and that the grave has no victory, for it never fights.

 ― John Muir, A Thousand-Mile Walk to the Gulf

12 comments:

  1. Death has been a forbidden subject for many individuals. I think it contributes to the "fear" because it hasn't been tossed around, masticated and thought about enough before it happens. I am glad you found a new church, I love mine too. You're journal page is beautiful!

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    1. Thanks.
      I agree - anything we don't feel we can talk about - becomes scary.

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  2. Thank you for the inspiration of looking at death in a different way!! While so many mourn the death of a loved one or a pet -- I always approach it from the side that it was a blessing that I had the person or the pet for all the years I did. Speaking from experience -- I lost my dad at 22 (suddenly) but felt he was needed somewhere else more than with us (he was terribly witty!!) :-)

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  3. I found this very interesting! I have been thinking about death quite a bit lately and your post is perfectly timed. Thank you so much for sharing these points of view.
    I'm curious about the church you have found. Is it Unitarian?
    ...Raine Phoenix

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    1. Hi Raine - the church is Congregational (in Hopkinton, NH). It's a lot like the one I grew up in (in MA) and I feel more at home here.
      And I'm glad I could help. :-)

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  4. This is an interesting writing, quite comforting.

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  5. Thank you for sharing this quote and your perspective on death as well as your habit of doodling through the church service - as I've been prone to doing myself :-) I found both very enlightening and freeing...

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    1. I'd like to write more about the doodling in church part too. :-)

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  6. I love the gorgeous way you illustrated that quote! Beautiful! And definitely something to think about. I have never heard that. Death is my favorite Sandman character, too. She would make things less scary for me, I think.

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  7. Sweet! On a topic that is often not! Thanks for sharing!

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