I recently lead a funeral service for a wonderful family at Mountcastle Turch Funeral Home in Dale City, VA.  I’ve been in a fair number of funeral homes but this was the first with a large glassed enclosure containing five finches (small birds).  The enclosure, maybe six by five feet had swings, nests, a bridge with water and food on the floor.  As I watched the birds play and fly, I was amazed that they never flew into the glass.  They instinctively knew the boundaries and appeared perfectly content within their world.

Then it hit me – maybe this is what the limits of life are like and what death might signal.

Imagine that suddenly, a glass panel opens and we can fly beyond our confines as we discover they are just created limitations.  What a wonderful analogy of eternal life.

I can image a finch leaving the enclosure to fly and experience a beyond of unimagined possibilities – a time of unlimited happiness, free from pain and hurt and exhaustion – to become new.

I bet an eternal finch can watch through the glass seeing the birds she left behind.  I bet her heart still beats with love for them.  I bet she’d love to tell them about the great and wonderful beyond, and that she'd be waiting for them.

I’m so often asked what it might be like to pass from this life.  Maybe it's not as hard as it sounds to answer.  The finches have something to teach us about dying – about passing into a wonderful, unexpected surprise.  All we need to do is listen.


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