GusToday’s Word: ‘death’ as in… I was 12 years old when I had my first near-death experience.

I was with my dad in a school gymnasium. Bleachers. Metal chairs. Basketball hoops. My dad leans over and says,

“Someday every in here will die.”

Did not see that one coming. He didn’t mean it as a gloomy thought; wasn’t trying to scare me or shock me. He just wanted me to have some inkling of what the ancient text from Ecclesiastes might have meant: “There is a season and a time for everything under the sun.”

So as a 12 year old I was introduced to the issue of death in a direct way. I had questions about my own death.

How and when would it happen? Where would I go? What would that be like? Would people miss me?

There weren’t many answers and still aren’t, and that’s okay. There’s a bit of mystery that’s actually good to dwell in. What wasn’t a mystery was the good news that come what may, I was always in God’s embrace.

My mom helped me connect the dots in a different way.

We’re standing next to Gus’s casket. She leans over and says, “Gus’s body was like a house.”

Did not see that one coming either.

She explained that for some time a man named Gus lived in that house and made it his home. The lights were on, there was movement, music, laughter, tears, joys, and sorrows. There were challenges and celebrations. Stuff broke, stuff got fixed. There were messes to clean up, disagreements to heal, forgiveness to be shared. And then the time came to move out of the house. The house was no longer useful, and Gus moved out. It was quiet. It was still. The house was empty. Everything that had made the house a home was no longer there. Just memories; wonderful, lovely, memories of life in the house. But Gus had moved out.

I asked my mom, “Where did Gus go?” She thought for a moment, smiled at me and said, “He found a new home. We all get a new home.”



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