A friend of mine just passed away in a tragic road accident. My thoughts go to his closest ones. I am in grief with them, and I mourn. Yet — I rejoice with the believing ones among them, that he now has met the God in whom he profeessed belief; a God who judges with righteousness. Let us not forget whence we came into this world.
Lights everywhere, red-eyed people in deep grief. What all of us see to be the contours of a priest enters the room. “He is with us no more,” he begins, as he smiles from ear to ear. Silent snivel around the tables. Cries of helplessness break the peace. He is gone. At such direct notice people are not able to contain themselves, and his nearest hold each other close as dreary sobbing is heard across the little room of people in grey suits. Tears flow freely, and people in grey become people in grey spotted black and later people in black. He is gone. I sit a bit further behind in the room and contemplate the words. I see people cry. I see people who weep, and I see faces inconsolable. Myself, however, I find that my brain must be instructed to shut down its most human parts when tragedy hits. The most sensitive parts are shielded from exposure to the worst storms. In retrospective I shall gradually have to feel these parts unravel and turn on again and start prosessing what has happened. First when the hurricane has left, is it safe to view the damages inflicted. But as for now — “He is gone.” –The words just drop dead to the ground. Unprocessed. Yet others, I observe, don’t know how to feel. There is nothing wrong or right about how you feel, says a girl standing up to pass a last greeting to the passed away one. You just feel like you feel. She sits down, and others follow her in sharing memories. The walls of the little room we are assembled in for his remembrance reveal that we are all imprisoned. Patches of paint has fallen off here and there and scattered on the cold concrete floor. I raise up to tell my friend farewell, too. Memories of how we used to talk together cross my mind and move my lips. Memories of how we could discuss and disagree about pretty much everything between heaven and earth and back and beyond. I remember how we held each other accountable for the hope of freedom that lived in us. I sit down with the others and try to keep the hope of freedom beating. I look around me. In the corner I see the priestlike one again. The one who came with the message that he thought to be a message of joy. A whisper that “God judge him for his lack of reverence and sorrow” fills the room. Not much of a priest, people murmur and look at a happy man in grey clothes hiding in a corner. He mumbles something like “I so long to the day when I will be in freedom with him.” People accuse him of having a distorted view of the 10 feet rock solid reality surrounding us; the prison walls.
“Whence did you come in, then?” he replies.
The guards come into the room and dissolve the meeting. “Everybody back to their rooms — now!” Silent, sad and with a broken hope we return to our cells and sit our respective beds. A distant whistle of joy from the cell of the priestlike. The one whos perception of reality, they say, is insane and wishful thinking. He still waits for his freedom. For the day when his transgressions have been atoned for.
And they are right — only the one who knows freedom can be imprisoned.
The more you know you are imprisoned, the less sorry you feel for the release of a fellow prisoner. Of course we shall mourn and be in grief for those who pass from this faint world and into reality. But let us never forget just that: Reality is beyond — not here — awaiting those who know that they are imprisoned.