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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Soul (07/13/06)

TITLE: Soul Train: Bound for Glory
By Linda Germain


My father had one sibling, a brother three years older. When the man was eighty, he drove three hundred miles to Dadís funeral by himself. He seemed pretty healthy, but a short time later he became ill and passed away too.

This only paternal uncle of mine donated his body for scientific research. In that particular institutionís protocol, they kept a personís remains for two years and then gave them to the family for a funeral. As it turned out, I was not able to attend when the call came, but the rest of my folks went. They are observant and articulate and gave me a good overview of the proceedings.

I think my brother was somewhat surprised to know how many others were there to bury their loved ones as well. It was a mass interment of cremated bodies. I suppose the teaching hospital has set times to take care of what is a somewhat gruesome business to many. I was a little taken aback by the procedure but more than intrigued by what we are really reduced to in the end. It was a real eye-opener.

I was most impressed by the container used for each oneís rendered body. I was told they looked exactly like those famous family-sized chicken buckets; clean, of course. A long trench had been dug in preparation. Each small, disposable casket was placed at spaced intervals down the row.

Just before the service began, someone discovered they had forgotten my dear Uncle. How in the world did he get left behind at the lab? Not that it is humorous; wellÖ it is a little funny since I know that he was not the compressed cupful of dust in that strange cardboard holder. Wherever he is, and I trust it is in Heaven, he had long since departed. This rite was merely an exercise in honoring the deceased and giving the families that popular catchall word: closure.

Anyway, someone dashed back to retrieve my relative, and we all assume what they brought back in the red and white bucket was really evidence of the physical thing he had been before the ashes to ashes part. I guess, in the end, it doesnít matter. God created us, and HE can put us back together pretty quick.

It took me some time to wrap my mind around the details of who we are on this earth, and why this is not our final resting place, no matter what the theologically misguided movies try to foist on us as truth. Donít you hate it when someone in the story dies and then turns into an angel or a restless spirit looking for peace?

Sometimes, characters talk to the dirt in front of the gravestone, addressing what they think is a loved one underneath. It sets an otherwise nicely told story on a dangerous track and plants seeds of deception in ignorant or uninformed minds.

Just for the record, humans are humans and angels are angels and neither the twain shall merge. Thatís another whole chapter, and I intend to stay on the subject of the soul for now.

I remembered my relative as a tall, dark-haired and unusually handsome man who stood up straight and always looked spiffy and washed. He had a great sense of humor and a kind heart. With his body reduced to dust in the wind, I spent some serious time pondering who he is now; certainly not that remembered picture of flesh and pleasant features anymore, but Scripture says we live forever. What thing that made him an individual is still living? We will know and be known in Heaven, so our souls are the essence of what we convey.

I donít pretend to have the wisdom to transcend the depths of Godís plan for the brilliant formula he concocted for man, nor how he blew into Adamís nostrils and gave him life, nor how exactly that life thing comes back out of us when we die, and continues on its journey HOME.

Itís enough just to know that it DOES happen. I take great comfort that what we truly are does not rest in our outsides, no matter how pretty or ugly or draped in fine stuff and strutted around to impress others.

The fact is, when we board the midnight train, we exhale for the last time on earth and inhale in eternity. Thatís soul music we can dance to, and it has a good beat.

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This article has been read 1228 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Edy T Johnson 07/22/06
I love this line:
"The fact is, when we board the midnight train, we exhale for the last time on earth and inhale in eternity." Thank you for this interesting read on the topic.
Suzanne R07/24/06
I love this line: "Thatís soul music we can dance to, and it has a good beat."

Since this is masters and we can be more picky, I'd just add that the facts that you weren't at the ... um ... funeral??? ... in question and that your uncle died three years after your dad was kind of irrelevant. Perhaps these extra details slightly confused the main point ... but that's just my 2c worth.

The piece was great - thought provoking - humorous and yet serious - well done.

How on earth could the staff have forgotten your uncle's ashes???!!! I bet somebody got a severe rap over the knuckles for that!
Lynda Schultz 07/25/06
It may be for another chapter, but I'm glad you mentioned it anyway: "Just for the record, humans are humans and angels are angels and neither the twain shall merge." Very good.