Seventy-six trombones led the big parade
With a hundred and ten cornets close at hand.
They were followed by rows and rows of the finest virtuosos,
The cream of ev'ry famous band.
As the years roll by, always with their looming threat of mortality, I have a contrary opinion,
I'm gonna live forever
I'm gonna learn how to fly
I feel it coming together
I'm gonna make it to heaven
Light up the sky like a flame.” (Pop song edited)
I am rather of the opinion that the fate of Menelaus, king of Sparta, is mine; but for very different reasons than Homer would recognize:
But about your own destiny, Menelaus,
Dear to Zeus, it is not for you to die
and meet your fate in the stallion-land of Argos.
No, the deathless ones will sweep you off to the world’s end
the Elysian fields . . .where life glides on in immortal ease for mortal man;
There is never a downpour there; no snow, no winter onslaught,
but night and day the Ocean River sends up breezes,
singing winds, of the West refreshing all mankind.
(Homer, trans. Robert Fagles, The Odyssey, (Penguin Books: New York, 1996). p. 142, edited RPS)
For a Christian, by virtue of the death and resurrection of the Christ, this life is contiguous with the next, there is no break. We travel through the wonder and of this middle earth with measured pace and in a twinkling of an eye we are transformed and walk through Elysian fields of splendour in the glory of God’s heaven bright. But not yet, not yet.
Rather my lot, a gift from God, is the continuing journey through this lovely realm wherein we dwell. I love being here amongst those whom I love. In particular I treasure being with my wife Diana from whom I have learned so much of love. All our loves are a blessing of His love. From time to time the darkling forests grim may seem foreboding, but that is a matter of perspective. My old father-in-law Archie had the right view. Every morning I would greet him, “Morning Archie, how are you?” He would reply succinctly, “I got up.” Every day is a gift, and even the darkling forests are just part of the rhythm of the journey. There is a wonder in the woods that I would be loath to miss.
The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.
(Robert Frost: Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening)