Such a beautiful post, I have to copy it in its entirety here. I am in agreement with the author's sentiments.
I am re-posting this because a childhood friend of mine - that is, a friend for well over 15 years I should add - died of pancreatic cancer two years ago. I am still dealing with that, and I still visit his grave. Frequently.
With my own health issues I often think about the fragility of life, being reminded often by the bouts of pain that I deal with every day, the pain which has gotten worse and hasn't allowed me to sleep for about three months now.
In any case, here is the post in full below.
(credit: Speculum Criticus Traditionis) . . .
A friend writes me concerning the funeral of a friend:
The day after she died somebody close to her dreamed that she flew off with iridescent dragonfly wings (I got the email about this dream the day after her death). Yesterday at the funeral (under a big tent outdoors), one enormous, singular dragonfly flew around, and perched above the podium for the entire event.It is hard to know "what to do" with stories like this, and this very incapacity is why they are invaluable. Not because they demonstrate irrefutably the bankruptcy of "the materialist world view;" and not because they show how desperately we narrativize and pattern-seek to gain a shadow of 'meaning' at any cost. Rather, because their experiential force is such that we cannot dismiss them, and yet they just won't slip easily into any preordained category. If we seize on them as "evidence" of something, we slip into superstition. But if we blow them off, we do violence to ourselves. (Many are indeed prepared to bite the bullet and do this, but the cost of this is the chemical gelding of their souls. What they see as tough-mindedness I see as the intellect on steroids--and courting analogous side-effects). The only rational and human (I will even say "faithful") stance is one that sees in them as what Heraclitus said: "The God whose oracle is at Delphi neither speaks nor conceals, but gives a sign." This sign is not glossable (if it were, it would be "speaking"). It points us beyond this world, but not at the world's expense.