Thursday, October 30, 2014

Haunted Houses


By Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, 1807 - 1882

 All houses wherein men have lived and died
Are haunted houses. Through the open doors
The harmless phantoms on their errands glide,
With feet that make no sound upon the floors.

We meet them at the door-way, on the stair,
Along the passages they come and go,
Impalpable impressions on the air,
A sense of something moving to and fro.

There are more guests at table than the hosts
Invited; the illuminated hall
Is thronged with quiet, inoffensive ghosts,
As silent as the pictures on the wall.

The stranger at my fireside cannot see
The forms I see, nor hear the sounds I hear;
He but perceives what is; while unto me
All that has been is visible and clear.

We have no title-deeds to house or lands;
Owners and occupants of earlier dates
From graves forgotten stretch their dusty hands,
And hold in mortmain still their old estates.

The spirit-world around this world of sense
Floats like an atmosphere, and everywhere
Wafts through these earthly mists and vapours dense
A vital breath of more ethereal air.

Our little lives are kept in equipoise
By opposite attractions and desires;
The struggle of the instinct that enjoys,
And the more noble instinct that aspires.

These perturbations, this perpetual jar
Of earthly wants and aspirations high,
Come from the influence of an unseen star
An undiscovered planet in our sky.

And as the moon from some dark gate of cloud
Throws o’er the sea a floating bridge of light,
Across whose trembling planks our fancies crowd
Into the realm of mystery and night,—

So from the world of spirits there descends
A bridge of light, connecting it with this,
O’er whose unsteady floor, that sways and bends,
Wander our thoughts above the dark abyss.


Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, one of the "Fireside Poets," wrote lyrical poems about history, mythology, and legend that were popular and widely translated, making him the most famous American of his day. 

I've always loved a good ghost story. I find them fascinating.
But not in the way that most people do. 
I don't believe in an afterlife. I believe we all should live our lives to the fullest and leave a legacy for future generations. Our ability to live on comes from living through the lives of people that we touch along the way. I do believe that houses and buildings hold a residual effect of those that came before us. And that we each leave our mark in the places that we call home and where we work and play.

Do you believe in ghost? Do you love a good ghost story?

Monday, October 27, 2014

Going Out of Business

According the skeletal old man, Pat Robertson, from The 700 Club, you, me and everyone else on the planet has the power to raise the dead. We just aren't using it.

This came as a response to a question from one of Robertson's viewers who asked:
"Do we have the same power that it took to raise Jesus Christ from the dead? If so, where is it in the Bible?"

Robertson (who has the power to raise the deceased from their eternal slumber) responded:

"He gave his disciples the authority... to raise the dead. That was part of our power... God is almighty... That power is there, we just aren't using it."


So, all this time we've been dealing with this pesky death thing, building an industry around helping people cope with the loss of a loved one, we could have been bringing them back to life. I think he's trying to put me out of business!

Friday, October 24, 2014

Engulfed in Color

I wish it had lasted longer and that I had a camera ready when it happened. Instead I will paint a picture for your mind that blew mine.

It was cold and dark this morning. There was a frost on the car in the driveway that delayed my departure to this morning's service. Eventually, I was able to head out to the garage where we keep the hearses. I quickly switched cars and hurried on my way to the funeral home.

As I traversed the freeway through the open farmland and light began to fill the morning sky, I noticed a thick fog obscuring my view of the fall colors. About half way to my destination, I noticed the moist air was drenching the freshly polished funeral coach.
A little annoyed at the thought of water streaks on the paint, I watched as the water streamed across the side window.

That's when I saw it. Beyond the window was the most vivid green color I had ever seen. I turned to keep my eyes on the road, as a good driver does, and I noticed that everything ahead of me was an amazing red color. I blinked a few times not understanding what was happening. I then surveyed everything around me. Color was everywhere! That is when I realized that the rising sun was hitting the fog all around me refracting the light in a rainbow like I had never seen before. I was inside the rainbow!

I've never even heard of this being possible. It lasted for only about 30 seconds before I drove out of the fog patch. I kept looking for more, but I guess it was a once in a lifetime moment.

This got me to thinking. With all the scientific knowledge that we have now, we can easily understand what was happening. But what would someone a few hundred or even a thousand years ago think of such an occurrence? Simple scientific phenomenon or miracle? Or both?

Either way, I am so glad it happened to me.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Bigger than an Iphone 6

Many times in the last few months I have felt that I really missed sharing my thoughts with the world through this blog. Several times I've gone back over some of the post that I've done and wondered what direction, if any, I was taking. These are my thoughts on the matter.

I often try to post things that I find inspirational. If you follow me on facebook, you may have noticed this too. Over there, I try to keep things short and simple. This is where I can come to finish a thought though. And for some reason, you all seem to care what I think. Thank you for that.

Many times, as well, this has been more of a travel log of sorts. Chronicling my many adventures.

At first, I did not see how these things all went together. It seemed a little random to me. But what I have found is that A Brighter Side of the Grave is all of these things. Life is about the adventures that we share. We share them with family and friends as they happen. And we share them over and over again, sometimes for years afterward, with people that we meet along life's way.
 With age, comes experience. And I love the fact that I have inspired several people to experience more than they ever thought possible simply by sharing my adventures and experiences.

I'm not a materialistic person. I don't need to surround myself with things. I don't need the latest and greatest gadgets. In fact, I usually let others work the bugs out before I invest in anything new. But, what I do love to spend money on is adventure. Sometimes we can plan for a year or more for an adventure. Some people call them vacations, others call them holidays. I call them adventures.

These adventures give us something to look forward to. As the day draws closer, we find ourselves getting excited. When we embark, we can hardly believe that it is happening. And when it is over, we have stories to tell for the rest of our lives. Sometimes we don't even know how great the adventure is until after it is done. Have you ever planned a beach vacation to have it rain every day that you are there? I did. Over a year of planning a trip to Cape Cod and it turned out to be the coldest wettest month of June in the history of Cape Cod weather. We threw on some jackets and went exploring anyway. It was a wonderful time and I wouldn't have changed anything. On the way home, we stopped in Plymouth. We had planned a cemetery tour in the evening. We contacted the tour guide who informed us that everyone else had cancelled but since we had traveled so far, if we wanted to continue, to meet her at Plymouth Rock. We did. She handed us some lanterns and led us to the cemetery. The sun set and as she was trying to spook us with her stories, the weather worsened. A cold wind was blowing and the rain was coming down sideways. I think our stories frightened her more than her stories, us. By the end, we were drenched and frozen. It was an experience I will never forget and wouldn't change for anything. Stories that will last longer than any Iphone 6.

It is life's adventures that keep me going. I appreciate every second that I am given here on Earth. Sometimes those adventures are cloaked in the veil of every day work. But if you look closely, they are always there. In everything we do, there is adventure. And when you realize this, you will look forward to every day, not just your next vacation.

Just remember this, one of my favorite quotes by Mark Twain;
Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.

So, the adventure goes on....