Collateral Beauty

Death is a subject that most would like to avoid discussing. Myself included. However, after attending four funerals in three weeks, I’m feeling the need to ventilate. Yes, I’ve heard the statements, ” Death is a part of life,” and “We all have to leave this place some time, or “She/he is in a better place now.” In truth, these sayings don’t bring much comfort when you’re in the shadow of the death. This is not meant to be some philosophical exegesis on the idea of death and dealing. The fact is that death is hard and mysterious, no matter how much religion, knowledge, or preparation you think you have.

One of the funerals I attended this month was by far one of the saddest. I found myself standing there in a begging mode of prayer for the family members of the deceased. Each one of their cries reached all the way down into my soul and sent my mind in a lurch to make things right. The crushing realization that I couldn’t set me in a slow motion orbit where my imagination, in defect mode, defied the gravitational pull of the emotional pain. I saw the family. Each one of them, still in the land of the living. Dreams and hopes, though presently obscured, still resided within them. All around that hole in the ground was life. That life and the realization of its frailty was now illuminated with heightened intensity. The Book had been closed on the loved one in the box. For the living, it was a part of another chapter.

I thought about the resolve and strength of the family members. The challenges overcome and views toward the future. I was inspired by what was still here, still possible. By looking deeply into the situation, I saw beyond it. Just like a cool drink is all the better on a sweltering summer day. There’s nothing like death, the threat ot it, or the thought of it to heighten the appreciation for life. That has been one of my methods to see behind that dark cloud. The knowing that there is something that will come to aid us not necessarily a result of the tragedy but in our adjustment to it. Although, in the smothering moments, we may not be able to see it. If we breath and look into a dark situation long enough, our faith will grasp onto the knowing that the sun will shine again. And it will, if we allow ourselves to see it. In our reeling world, we are in need of more of us who have an eye for the collateral beauty.

collateral beauty is defined as the beauty that lies within. It is the hidden beauty around anything dark that is happening as it cannot be seen directly. Not everyone believes in or accepts the concept.

Photos by Imani Moore

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