I got up this morning to board a plane to fly up to Raleigh for Mike’s funeral. I was joined by David Orr and Jeremy McMorris. We landed in Hickory, NC to pick up Dr. Bob and then it was on to Raleigh/Durham. After a short drive, we arrived at the church where Mike’s funeral service was held.
Looking out the window of the plane thinking of Mike.
There is something about being a Christian when it comes to face the death of a loved one. Certainly there are feelings of sadness. However, you can’t come to a conclusion that the one you love is gone. It is as though they boarded a plane and flew to some distant location. You don’t see them, but you KNOW they ARE. You have not faced the end of their existence. They exist – in a sense in a way much greater than they did when they were with you.
That is the feeling I had as I looked at the wooden coffin holding the body of Mike. It was not him. Yet, he IS. The sadness is in not having him here with us. The gladness is knowing that we will be with him again. The sadness was in seeing his family knowing that they would not feel his hugs or hear his laughter any more on this earth. The gladness was knowing that they are not without hope.
The credits song to The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, “Into the West,” came to my mind. It is the song about the ships sailing into the west to take the elves away from the changing Middle Earth to a new land. “What can you see on the horizon? Why do the white gulls call? Across the sea a pale moon rises. The ships have come to carry you home. And all will turn to silver glass. Light on the water, grey ships pass into the west.”
Mike has boarded the ship. The ship will return for each of us and we will board it. We’ll leave the fading world and enter a new one that is made new. “The white shores are calling. We will meet again.” Mike is not dead. He is simply waiting.
Michael T. McCaskill April 27, 1981 – June 16, 2007
Thanks, McCaskills, Lora, Carl, Johnny, and all the folks at Catawba Springs Christian Church. You are an inspiration and testimony.