TOO HEAVENLY MINDED TO BE ANY EARTHLY GOOD

head in the cloudsI recently learned of the death of an elderly woman I disliked.  Actually, I more than disliked her because she was mean, a misery to herself and others, and had no interest in changing.  She put herself on a pretty high pedestal, and lived from a place of knowing that her perspective and opinions were the right ones.  She did not appreciate her friends, did not return the love of those around her, sat in judgement of everyone she met, and acted more pious than the pope.  My sister has a phrase for people like this who live with their nose in the air, their head in the clouds, and their hind-end in God’s judgement seat: too heavenly minded to be any earthly good.

To my dismay, I met this woman at church.  I say “dismay” because I was a pastor’s wife for 25 years, and meeting this woman at church meant that I was not only stuck with her, but I was expected be nice.

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UNFINISHED BUSINESS

unfinished painting by Benjamin West
unfinished painting by Benjamin West

I think we all generally agree on what constitutes unfinished business while we are alive: unfinished projects at work or home, unresolved disagreements, unsolved mysteries, incomplete estate paperwork, unsettled disputes.  But what constitutes unfinished business once we’re dead?  Good question.  In my work as a psychic medium, I deal with the unfinished business of the dead all the time:

A young man committed suicide and didn’t leave a note.  He did this to hurt his parents, wanting them to be left not knowing.  But he did not realize that it would also hurt his sister and his closest friends.  He had a tremendous amount of guilt and regret over this and other things, as he witnessed their unending torture from the unanswered questions he left behind.  The guilt and regret were unfinished business for him.

A middle-aged couple was murdered and the person who was convicted and punished for the crime was not the person actually responsible.  Their anger over the wrongness of this was unfinished business for them.

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A CRY OF THE HEART

despairFrom a woman whose husband just died: “I don’t know what to do.  How am I going to live without him?”  From a young man whose father died unexpectedly: “What did he do, what did we do to deserve this?”  From a mother whose daughter committed suicide: “Will God forgive my daughter for having a bad mother?”

All of these statements are great opening lines for a lamentation.  An expression of woe that concludes with a statement of hope, there are times when a lament just rolls off the tongue or pours out of the heart, when the feelings of loss are almost too much to bear or too big to hold in.  Loss can come from anywhere — certainly from the death of someone close to you, but also from the loss of a job you loved, or the loss of your health.  And with any loss, there is grief, and grief demands expression.

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BOOKS FOR YOUR SOUL

open book 2I was sick with a bad virus this past week, so my apologies for missing my usual posting day.  My apologies also for this column, which is going to be a digression from my usual.  I am on the mend, but I do not have it in me right now to delve into the greater mysteries of the universe, like death and life beyond death.  And so I am going to write about books, specifically books that expand your mind, challenge your beliefs, and are good for your soul.  This list is by no means exhaustive, as it is a list of the books of this sort that I know personally and can recommend without reservation, but it is a start.

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