Now for something completely different.

I’ve gotten into the entertaining habit of reading the obituaries in the daily paper– not every one of them every day. It’s not an obsession; just a curiosity. Someday, I know, my own death notice will be among them. I haven’t written it yet. Like most other things in my life, I’m procrastinating. But, in case I miss the assignment entirely and someone else is left to pen the final words, let me be clear: I am not going to “pass way.” I am going to simply die.

The obits I read rarely note that so-and-so has died. Most often, so-and-so merely “passed away.” Even if in a fiery crash or terrible explosion of some kind, or, heaven forbid, at the hands of a mad criminal so-and-so met the end of life, they just “passed away.” Not me. I’m going to die.

And I won’t need my obituary to say that I have “fallen asleep,” either. (“Help! I’ve fallen asleep forever and can’t get up!”) Further, it is not up to my obituary writer to guarantee that I have “passed into the arms of Jesus” or God. While that may be the case, I don’t want to be presumptuous. Perhaps worse would be “falling asleep in Jesus,” for I doubt any who heard him preach or who followed him faithfully would have fallen asleep in his arms. (I understand that Eutychus fell asleep on Paul, but he was cured of that, so it’s an entirely different thing.)

One of the obits in today’s newspaper (thankfully not in the “Life” section), said that the subject “took God’s hand,” and several others “went to be with…” God, Jesus, or loved ones who had previously departed, or as another obit read, so-and-so “made his transition.”

Sometimes I’ve read in the obituary pages that only one– just one — of the people noted there “died.” All the others were just victims of metaphor or euphemism. As for me, if I haven’t made it clear by now, I shall just die.

This is not to say that I will be dead forever. Whether my new life comes in the blink of any eye (preferred) or when some final trumpet blows some eons from now (talk about procrastination!), my life-long Christian faith believes in Easter and resurrection, as counter-intuitive as that seems in this present day. Someday, I will die. And, by the grace of God, someday I shall be made alive. I have this vivid imagination that has fed my dreams and my creativity my whole life long; yet I cannot imagine my own non-existence. So, my faith persists. Easter, it is.

(Perhaps, taking a cue from the aforementioned Eutychus, it might be said of me that I have died temporarily. That would make for a chuckle as some future obit reader scans the death notices as I do now.)

One more note to all who love me and might be tempted to send me a message on the anniversary date of my birth or death: I won’t be reading the memorials in your local paper, so don’t bother. I hope to have better things to do in the afterlife than reading the paper, for heaven’s sake. Instead, spend the money on something worthwhile, like the local food pantry or Habitat For Humanity. That would be for heaven’s sake, for sure.

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