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January 10, 2005
I was not fully awake, but somehow knew it was morning without even opening my eyes. It would be time to get up soon, but the bed was warm and a sleeping cat added a layer of warmth to my feet, so I kept my eyes closed. I wondered whether today was a school day, and whether my mother would be home today.

But I've been out of school for decades, and my mother's been dead for twenty-five years. Still, the little-girl feeling was very real. Tucked into our beds, we regain our youth: curl up into ancient fetal positions, cuddle under blankets, stretch and then curl up again to bury ourselves in the soft warmth. We are ageless when we are asleep. Maybe my mother will be home with me today.

And maybe she will. Both my parents have been present to me in new ways since they left this life: more flexible, very mobile and quick, able to come into my heart even before I think of them. My memory of them is composed only of the past, and it is rich, but my experience of them now is definitely in the present: they are around.

I remember how sad they would become when they heard terrible news on the radio, and think of them now when I hear about the unfolding horror of the tsunami. But now they do not sit still in sorrow at the news: now they are there, adding strength to survival, adding love to the love that billows around the bereaved from all over the world -- it is really from all over the universe, and from the kingdom of heaven as well. The dead add to us, it seems, and we summon power from them that seem to come to us through our own souls, conduits of the divine love and power. Whether we know it or not, we are only alive because of this power. Life is hard; it is only this power that enables us to make it through.

This is what it means for us to say that they are in Christ. They are now part of the one through whom all creation comes to be -- not just ages ago, at the beginning of time, but now. Today. Tomorrow, too. They are part of it, and therefore they are part of us, since the power of life comes to all living things through Christ.

So they love us still. They are with us still. Insofar as their love was life-giving while they walked the earth, it gives life still, for it comes from the source of life. And where it was lacking, engendering unease and fear instead of happiness and security, it is changed: those things do not survive the transition to heaven. They are better than they were. And through their love, changed and ongoing, so are we.
Copyright © 2022 Barbara Crafton
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