I am not a churchgoing person. Throughout my life I have gone to church at times when I felt I needed a little support or maybe time to reflect. Last week I talked with the priest who had been with me in the first year after my sister died when I was a student at Ball State. He commented that I’m the type of person who feels a sense of spirituality no matter where I’m at; I don’t need to be in church.
This year for Lent, I wanted to do something that would ultimately make me a better person, so I gave up worrying about things I can’t control. As you can imagine, this has been easier said than done! Part of the deal I made with myself was that I would go to church weekly again because maybe I would feel or hear something to inspire me.
A weekend ago, I switched churches because I was feeling rather uninspired at my parish church, the same one I was married in almost twelve years ago. A friend suggested another church, one run by Jesuits, so off I went. I found I did like it better and I had an experience that I don’t think I’ve ever had in my almost forty years of life. I heard in the homily words that resonated with me.
I should have known I was in for something good when I saw the priest wearing a headset as he walked down the aisle to begin Mass. In his sermon, he discussed the experience of life after death, how we question it, how if we didn’t question it, he would wonder if we were human. But he added that ultimately life after death is very different than the life we have here or we wouldn’t have questions. He then went on to say that we have things to look forward to in our growth as people, even beyond this physical life, and things we don’t understand.
That I really appreciated (I even took notes on the church bulletin) because, to me, life (this life, that life, or whatever life) is about continued to growth. I am not one who sits around and thinks about my life after death, it’s only important to me in terms of my family members who have died and their continued to connection to me.
Michelle Linn-Gust, Ph.D., is an international author and speaker about finding hope after loss and change. She is the author of several books including Rocky Roads: The Journeys of Families through Suicide Grief and Ginger's Gift: Hope and Healing Through Dog Companionship. Her first book, based on the suicide of her younger sister Denise, Do They Have Bad Days in Heaven? Surviving the Suicide Loss of a Si..., inspired siblings around the world in their survival after a loved one’s suicide. She is the President of the American Association of Suicidology and lives in Albuquerque, N.M. Read more about Michelle at www.michellelinngust.com.