March 29, 2023
By Bailey Green
Midweek Musings is a weekly Covenant blog with a variety of authors and a variety of topics.
I’ve never given much thought to how I will die. Now before you ask, no, this is not a blog post about vampires and werewolves... thank you, Stephanie Meyer. While I identify as a Christian (and Team Edward), I really haven’t thought much about what an afterlife would look like.
After all, I won’t have eyes. How will I be able to look around? Ha Ha Ha.
Disclaimer: Maybe this blog post isn’t for you if the humor above isn’t your thing. Yikes.
The closer I get to turning 30, the more I feel like death has become a consistent topic of conversation with those around me.
Some conversations I have about death aren’t always so bad. Last weekend, I visited my mom. We talked about the possibility of having my uncle’s ashes mailed (yes, MAILED! That really IS a thing!) from Michigan to Wisconsin to be cast into the Rock River. We talked about whether I still listen to one of my favorite podcasts, My Favorite Murder. I told her I have moved onto another podcast related to death called Buried Bones, where the hosts explore cold cases from centuries ago using a twenty-first century lens.
I even had her listen to one of my favorite Taylor Swift songs, “Death By A Thousand Cuts.”
Okay, maybe that song isn’t about death so much as an agonizing breakup, but it does have the word death in the title…
Other conversations I’ve had recently about death have been devastating. My classmates from high school are starting to pass away, leaving friends and family behind to plan funerals unexpectedly. Parents, grandparents, aunts, and uncles are passing away at a rate that seems unprecedented and scary, only for us to realize how limited our time on this earth is. My own family has to decide if we want to bury my dad’s ashes this summer or leave him on the bookshelf in the living room for another year instead.
And then there are the conversations that are unbearable. Earlier this week, there was a shooting at Covenant School in Nashville, Tennessee. This school is a part of the mission of Covenant Presbyterian Church in Nashville, which is affiliated with the Presbyterian Church in America. The death and losses experienced there have sparked discussions between coworkers about what we would do in a similar situation here in Madison.
This incident has also made me realize – YET AGAIN – that I have given absolutely no thought to death or dying, much less what comes next. Oh boy.
For the last few weeks, the worship series here at Covenant has been focused on death and dying. Pastors Charlie Berthoud, Clara Thompson, and Chelsea Cornelius have touched on some difficult topics, including the grieving process, death and children, unexpected deaths, and what happens to us after we die. While their sermons do not guarantee comfort or make promises about what comes next, they do help open the doors for tough conversations and self-reflection.
I still haven’t given much serious thought to how I will die. I certainly haven’t tried to guess what will happen afterward. But I think Pastor Clara said it best in her sermon from three weeks ago: “In life and in death, we belong to God. The same God who loves me now, who watches over me, who sustains me, who gives me the very breath of life, will be there for me after I die. I don’t know what it will look like, but I trust in God’s eternal love, today and forever.”
I think that’s all we can do, and I’m okay with that.