I won’t rest in peace

By Joe Rector

I’m in that time of life when putting up with a long list of aches and pains and swallowing fistfuls of pills become part of the daily routine. Saying goodbye to classmates and family and friends becomes an almost monthly occurrence. With each loss of an individual, all of us struggle to find the right words to speak to those left behind. Such things as “I’m sorry for your loss,” “I know how you feel,’ and “Let me know how I can help” are kind but empty phrases. As Robert Frost says, “And (we), since (we) were not the one dead, turned to (our) affairs.” Yes, life goes on without us. I care only that when my time comes to leave that people don’t say “rest in peace.”

Growing old takes energy. It also steals our strength and endurance. The last thing I want to do is take it easy when I die and, hopefully, find myself on God’s land. My first wish is to find those of my family who have gone before me. We’ll share hugs and kisses, and if they’ve not been privy to my life, I’ll fill them in on all the happenings. Nothing could please me more than sitting at the kitchen table of my youth with the family I have loved and lost over the years.

Next, I’ll look for those pets that meant so much in my life. That old Dalmatian that we grew up with will be one I’ll hunt down. Snoop, a Jack Russell Terrier, was my best friend for 13 years and helped me rehab after back surgery. I’m going to search heaven for him. If Sadie goes before me, I’ll never sit for a minute until she is by my side or lying on the end of the recliner.

A special request to God will be that I be allowed to sit on a lawnmower and mow the yard. For years, that activity has been therapeutic. I’ve done my best thinking on all sorts of subjects on the seat of a mower, and the sweet smell of grass in late spring is a gift to all mankind. I hope the mower I use is a zero-turn and has a striping kit to make the grass look nice.

One pure joy will be singing with family and friends. I’d prefer to sing some hymns, but I’d also like to belt out a few favorites from my teen years. My brother Dal can play the guitar, and we’ll allow guest singers to join in. Of course, the good lord will have to restore my singing voice that for some reason has weakened over the years. Harmonizing in songs is fun as the fullness of tunes fills the air.

The last thing I’d like to do is ask God some questions. We’re told that some things are beyond human comprehension, but maybe we can understand when we’re face-to-face with the One who created us. Remembering my time on this earth will help me to develop the questions. Perhaps all things are made clear when we reach that place. If that’s true, I’ll use the time to “have a little talk with Jesus.”

As of right now, I can’t do what I used to do. I’m tuckered out after completing a small fraction of what I could once accomplish. Years of abuse on this body have me limping and hobbling and straightening up. Too much time these last few years have been spent sitting, and even my keester hurts. I’ve rested long enough. When I leave here, I’m leaving all these hurts in this world. I plan to fill eternity doing the things I love with the people and God that I love.