Monday, October 27, 2008
The Flames of Maplewood
My husband and I took a short extended weekend driving trip to Arkansas to see some fall colors. I was able to keep in touch with my mother when we had cell coverage so I could relay our path and find out the current condition of her brother, my Uncle Bill. On Friday afternoon she let us know that he probably would not make it through the night.
At the time of that call we were driving into a place called 'Mystic Caves' that was just south of Harrison, Arkansas. It was another one of those Holy Ghost set-ups. These were underground caves we had no intention going into, but met a man at the gift shop (I think he was a pastor) that saw my camera. He impressed upon us with directions and passion that we needed to go to the Maplewood Cemetery because of the brilliant colors of the trees. The directions were lengthy and unclear, but we seemed to easily find the place in a not so easy to get around town.
The vibrancy and number of stunners was simply incredible. Shooting through the leaves with the sun setting on the other side gave the impression of burning flames against the early evening sky.
The burning and brilliant sprays of radiance at every turn made me think of some recent passages from 'The Shack' that really gave me comfort about my Uncle Bill. The light inside him was going to be soon set free to go dance in heaven. I knew that his time was at hand to leave his diseased tent on earth. Praying for his release was quite an experience amidst these testimonies of color and light. I felt certain that love and prayers were being delivered to him before he crossed over.
He left his body around 7:30 Friday evening. My mother and I had experienced him being in so much pain during our earlier visit to see him in August. We were able to talk about deep spiritual matters, give him spiritual and physical comfort, cook good food together, and spend time visiting some of his favorite places. Of course, we also spent plenty of time telling jokes and being silly, playing together. His wailing and groaning during the night made us wonder if he would pass while we were there. But he rallied for two more months, being able to spend quality time with some more friends and family. His two sons, both living in other states, made it to be with him before he passed.
My mother told me Saturday morning she had very peaceful sleep. She dreamed she saw him on a shore waving to her.
I will always connect these beautiful trees in this cemetery to the beauty of my uncle's transformation and ascension into the arms of Jesus.
At the end of your life you will groan when your flesh and body are spent.
Listen, I tell you a mystery. We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed...
Death has been swallowed up in victory...
Where, O death, is your victory?
Where, O death, is your sting?
There is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body...
the splendor of the heavenly body,
we will bear the likeness of the man from heaven.
(references 1 Corinthians 15)