Tuesday, January 28, 2014

The Fifth Commandment

Honor your father and your mother, so that you may
live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you. 
~Exodus 20:12

Hubby was talking with his sister Lou this morning, following a Facebook conversation about her snow day today and Small Fry's insistence upon calling Auntie Lou to tell her she has to get married. After he got off the phone with her, the conversation between him and the Fries in the kitchen moved from Auntie Lou to Auntie Lou and Daddy's parents, and what it means when the Bible says to honor your mother and father.

"But how do you do that when your daddy is dead?" one of the girls wanted to know.

"I behave in the way that they taught me. When we go to see Gramma Bevvie, and I go to the church my mom goes to, those people know me. They knew Poppa C. How I act reflects how my parents raised me. So people watch me, and they remember Poppa C, and they can tell if I'm honoring him or not by my actions."

"What do we do with people when they're dead?" Medium pressed.

The Inquisitor strikes again.

Can I just tell you how glad I was that it was Hubby in the kitchen facing that question, not me?

"Well," Hubby began, "every person has two parts to them: the body, which is what we see, and the soul, which is what makes us who we are. When we die, it's not our soul that dies: that's the part that goes to live with Jesus. It's not Medium's smile that makes her Medium. It's not Small's nose that makes her Small."

I could hear the smile in his voice, and imagined that he touched Small's nose as he spoke.

He went on. "Those things are part of the body. Everything about you that makes you you is your soul."

He paused for a moment.

"On Christmas, what's the best part of the presents? Is it the wrapping paper and the bows and the packing peanuts and tissue paper?"

"The gifts!" chorused three voices.

"Right, it's the gift. What do we do with the wrapping paper and stuff?"

"Throw it away!"

"Right. Now...you, your soul, that's the gift. Your body is like the wrapping paper. Once we're done with the wrapping paper, we don't need it anymore. The same thing is true for people. When our soul doesn't need the body anymore, the body dies. And when that happens, we do one of two things. We put the body in a box, called a casket, and we bury it in the ground. That's called a cemetery. You've seen those. The place with all the big stones, remember?"

I imagined three little heads nodding.

"The other thing we do is we might put the body in a big fire, and burn it until there's nothing left of it but stuff that we call ashes. That's called cremating."

"I want to see where your daddy is buried."

I'm not surprised to hear Medium say that.

"You have. We stopped by the cemetery once when we were visiting Gramma Bevvie. And once, we took a long drive, and we visited where my grandparents are buried. Mommy has pictures. You can ask her to show you."

There was another brief pause, and Hubby announced that he really needed to go to work.

But there was one more question...

"Daddy, when you were in Hawai'i, did you put dead bodies in volcanoes?"

I think Hubby almost choked. "No, we didn't put dead bodies in volcanoes. We buried them there, too."

I know you're not going to be surprised when I tell you that Medium is the one who asked that.

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