Looking for the Driver in the Junkyard

“Dad?”

“Yes, son.”

“Why don’t we ever go to visit grandma’s grave?”

“I don’t believe she is there, son?”

“What do you mean?”

“Let me put it this way. You wouldn’t go to a car junkyard to look for the driver, would you?”

That was my father’s view of death. Once the body had passed, the owner had left his or her vehicle and gone home. Why waste time following the body when the spirit was no longer there? He found remembrance in pictures and within his own heart.

No Disrespect

He meant no disrespect with this. He understood why people tried to keep the memory of their loved ones alive by visiting memorials. We even erected a memorial stone about him when he died and placed his ashes on top of a glacier. But I don’t go there to think of him. I go within, like he said.

The Great Mystery

Death is the great mystery. All religions have theories about what happens after death, but no one can prove or disprove them.

Huston Smith mourned the loss of the word ‘mystery’ from what it really means to the description of two-bit crime stories. “A mystery can’t be solved,” he lamented. “That’s what makes it a mystery.”

Death is that. A mystery.

My father’s idea about what happens after death may be similar to what others have thought before and after him, but I’ve never heard anyone use the driver and the junkyard simile. That is why I wanted to share it with you. Not to convince you of anything. Just to show you how he thought about the great mystery.

Gudjon Bergmann
Interfaith Minister, Author, and Speaker
Founder of Harmony Interfaith Initiative

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