I guess I’m not as tolerant as I thought. When I attend a memorial service or a funeral (and recently there have been quite a few), I don’t think it is appropriate to spend the time proselytizing or trying to “save” those in attendance. Preaching to everyone – how ONLY through knowing, loving and accepting Jesus as your savior will you reach “heaven” and see your loved ones again. No respect at all is shown to those in attendance who might not believe as they do. After an experience like this it leaves a horrible taste in my mouth for Christianity. I’d feel the same way if any other religion did a similar thing.
I don’t know if there is a “heaven” or if we return to this earth time and again to learn new things in a different vessel, or if when we die, that’s it, we die. But regardless of my beliefs or feelings, being told that there is only ONE path to eternal “peace” or to the next stage of our evolution just drives me crazy. I watch as they all bow their heads “in his name”. I will not bow my head to anyone or anything. Even if a supreme being of some sort exists I hardly believe it would either require or desire my submission to its’ “name”, or its power.
A tolerant person would not want words such as those spoken at a service being held in their remembrance. A tolerant person understands that not everyone believes as they do, and that although they believe their way is the “right” way, they understand that other people with other beliefs feel exactly the same way.
But, as life usually goes the individual who passes has very little to do with what is even said at their service. So, blaming the dead is both silly and futile. I don’t want people to mourn me when it is my time, but in case I run the risk of not having a say in how I am remembered, I think I need to write my wishes down WAY ahead of time (you are never promised tomorrow). This may sound egotistical, I don’t know, but I don’t want other people telling the family and friends I’ve left behind what it will take for them to “see” me again, “join me once more” or be close to an all powerful being.
I want people to laugh and to share funny memories (although I’d rather them skip the embarrassing ones – LOL). If they want to or need to cry they should cry, and not be told “not to cry for me because I am in a better place”. If they want to laugh and rejoice they should laugh and rejoice. Emotions of any kind should be acceptable – encouraged as everyone grieves in a different way.
Even if one tries to make their wishes known, many times they are ignored because “loved ones” think they know better what their family member “would want”. My friends and family know me well enough to know that I WILL make my wishes known, LOL. Don’t send me on my journey the way you wish to be sent, send me the way I’ve asked to be – showing respect to my beliefs and feelings (which undoubtedly WILL show respect to the beliefs of those in attendance as well).
The one thing I hope for is that those who have recently suffered a loss find the comfort and support they need through whatever avenue they choose, desire, or believe to be beneficial: prayer, meditation, Jesus, God, Allah, Buddha, hugs, family, nature… WHATEVER helps them find comfort and feel closer to the one they have lost.
I am done ranting for today. My heart is heavy for my fiancee who lost her grandfather, for a close friend who lost her mother way to early, and for my own grandfather who I lost just a year ago.