(CLICK TO ENLARGE PHOTO ABOVE – – I wouldn’t want to live anywhere else in the sunset years of my life. Sandia Mountains at dusk, as seen from the east edge of Rio Rancho, New Mexico – – taken on December 11, 2016, 5 p.m.)
by Norio Hayakawa:
I used to work as a funeral director at a Japanese-American funeral home in Los Angeles, California for 25 years, from 1982 to 2007. It was the most fascinating and gratifying career of my life!!
Here are my personal thoughts about Life and Death:
DEATH IS JUST THE BEGINNING OF REAL LIFE
We are always saddened by the death of our loved ones.
This is a natural human trait.
This emotion is deeply ingrained in our hearts.
Therefore we mourn the loss of our loved ones at the funeral.
But when you come to think of it, funerals are not really for the departed.
Funerals are for those who are left behind.
There is no doubt in my mind that the “deceased” wonders why those who are left behind are saddened, when he or she is in such a blissful state.
He or she probably also wonders why we were spending so much money on his or her funeral…”there was no need to”, they are saying.
(By the way, I am not an advocate for “traditional” funerals. Nowadays, funerals can cost anywhere from about $12,000 to $15,000 and up. In fact, strange as it may sound coming from a long-time funeral director, I do not really believe in having funerals. I even dislike the word “funeral” and would rather use the term “Memorial Gathering” or “Celebration of Life” gathering.
My feeling is that instead of having a funeral after one passes away, people should have a one-time “Celebration of Life” gathering at a most appropriate time while they are alive and well. This could eliminate the need to have a funeral later on. This type of having a one-time “funeral service” while one is still alive and healthy is becoming popular in countries like Japan. They use a community center or a hotel banquet hall with food, music and dance – – in addition to giving the attendees a chance to eulogize that person on stage – – it’s like a celebrity “roast”. And subsequently in the near future when that person passes away, the family will not organize any funeral, but will simply go for a simple cremation with no service – – my wife and I will be having this type of an event soon.)
Those who did not experience death are the ones that are to be mourned for.
He or she is sending an urgent message that death was not the end of life.
Death is not the end of life.
Far from it.
It is only the begining of REAL LIFE, the ultimate reality.
Death is simply the door through which we enter the real, true eternal life.
Words will be inadequate to describe this eternal bliss to come immediately upon death.
This is why we need not fear death at all.
The new life after death is the ultimate reality, not the superficial, temporal, limited existence we have here in this physical world.
In other words, this world we are living in is almost like an illusion.
It’s not real, in the sense that this is not the ultimate reality.
We must face this fact: that DEATH actually BEGINS THE MOMENT WE ARE BORN.
It’s a slow process.
The moment we are born we are immersed into this physical world and begin to experience sickness and disease and finally we die a physical death.
For some it could be very short.
For others death may come in an unexpected way before sickness and disease take over.
We all have an appointed time for death.
This thought sounds rather morbid but let’s face it.
This is a fact.
Therefore, to the best of our ability, we MUST live these precious few moments of life to the fullest possible and take time to enjoy it while we can.
We must continually thank “God” (or the “Creator”, or the “Designer” or whatever you may describe God to be, to the best of our “finite” mind) for giving us this precious physical life, even though it’s a short life.
We must not hate ourselves but love ourselves for who God created us to be.
But more than that, we must LOVE OTHERS more than ourselves and do good to others.
This is the golden rule.
We must also continue to have total FAITH (or unconditional “TRUST” or “RELIANCE”) in God and live the way He would want us to live.
This may sound strange, but since we are all taking the journey to death, the most important time in our life, therefore, is NOW.
The past cannot be repeated.
What happened even a few seconds ago cannot be repeated.
The past is history.
We have the PAST, PRESENT and the FUTURE.
Our finite mind cannot see the FUTURE.
This is why the most important period of our life is NOW, this very minute, this very second!!
We need to thank “God” (or the “Creator”, or the “Designer” or whatever you may describe God to be, to the best of our “finite” mind) for giving us the opportunity to be here, even for a short time.
We need to thank “God” EVERY SINGLE DAY for giving us this precious life to live.
We need to thank “God” for EVERY NEW BREATH that we can continue to breathe while on earth, even if we may be so sick in bed and are faced with death.
Yes, many times we may feel that it is extremely difficult to do, but we must try.
We must continue to count our blessings EVERY DAY.
By the way, there are no such things as “coincidences” in our lives, if we fully trust in the “Creator”.
There may be a reason for everything that happened so far in our personal lives.
Moreover, we do make many mistakes and made bad decisions.
There’s no turning back the clock to change the events that happened in our lives.
We can only learn from the past mistakes and ask for forgiveness for our mistakes.
Many times we question “God” (or the “Creator” or “Designer” or whatever you may call God to be, to the best of our “finite” mind) why certain things, especially “bad things”, happen in our lives.
But we must bear in mind that God never wishes “bad things” in our lives.
God never creates “bad things”.
God is not the creator of evil.
Often times we have tragic moments in our lives which are beyond our doing.
At the time of the tragic event, we tend to question God and even complain to Him why the tragedy happened.
But later on, as the years go by, we come to a point and realize that had it not been for that tragedy in the past that I would not be here where I am, not only physically, mentally but above all and most importantly, spiritually.
We didn’t see it right then before.
As they say, “all things work out for the good for those who love and trust Him”.
Lastly, together with this thought, we can rest assured that God answers ALL our sincere prayers.
There are only three ways that “God” answers our prayers.
That is: YES, NO or NOT NOW.
When we ask God for a certain thing:
1) God can respond and say “YES”. “You will get your wish right away”.
2) God can respond and say “NO”.
(God knows exactly what is good for you).
When God says “NO”, He will give you an alternative to your request.
He will say “NO, but I will give you something that is even better for you, and you will know the reason why later on, in due time”.
3) God can respond and say “YES, but not now, you will just have to wait patiently and then it will be granted. Now is not the right time, but it will be granted at the most appropriate time for you.”
THIS IS GUARANTEED !!
By the way, here is how to cut down on funeral costs – – CLICK AND READ THE FOLLOWING ARTICLE:
(CLICK AND ENLARGE ABOVE – – taken on July 19, 2017 at 8:15 p.m., from my backyard in Rio Rancho, New Mexico, USA. – – thank God for another day)
I posted most of this entire piece on YouTube:
Another YouTube version “Now is the most important moment of your life”
E-mail = firstname.lastname@example.org