I know you guys think we exaggerate about the rules here. Well here is an actual sign on a walkway - this is along the scenic walk - i.e. a wooden boardwalk in amongst the trees in the Blue Mountains. Apologies for the quality - I took it on my cellphone and it was an overcast day and in the forest so the light made it difficult. OH&S is a huge industry here:
Thursday, 2 September 2010
I have always wanted to be cremated when I die, but I had to spec some equipment as part of my job the other day and had chance to visit Woronora Cemetery (pictures above). It was so peaceful and beautiful there, that I wondered if I shouldn't change my mind. I know that many Sydneysiders would disagree with me and say that the historical Waverley cemetery (below) which sits on the edge of a cliff is more scenic and perhaps they would technically be correct. All I can say is that Woronora is truly a place of rest. Their motto is apt: Where beauty softens grief.Whilst my colleague and I were waiting at reception for our appointment to arrive, a middle-aged woman who had just lost her mother was in front of us making arrangements for her burial. She told the receptionist that she was an atheist and as she left, she cut a tragic figure. I wanted to tell my colleague to go ahead with the meeting without me and follow the woman out into the parking lot. I wanted to just touch her arm and say... well what would I say to an atheist? I guess, I wanted to say to her:
'I'm not an atheist and I have never doubted the existence of God, but I often struggle with the concept of heaven. And it is irrelevant in some senses because I would still strive to live as a Christian even if there was no heaven because I believe it is the most authentic way to and of Love. You may not believe in God, but you must believe in love because you loved your mom. If you think of the concept of 'God' as even just that and nothing more, we share, however small, a faith in the unseen and unmeasurable. Know that I will be praying for you - to the One I believe to be the Source of that love and through the witness of my Christian vocation that drives me to embrace you in this very painful moment in your life, may you come to know in the first instance that you are loved. And ultimately, loved by Him.'
But I didn't move. She may have, in any case, just dismissed me or rejected my approach out of hand. Even taken offence. But what if all she needed was somebody to reach out to her with a kind word? I am haunted by the vision of her back, as she walked out of the office, into the sunlight, alone and hunched in grief.