When a loved one dies, those left behind are responsible for the remains. Different people have different wishes for what they’d like done with them after they die. My husband has told me that whatever I want is fine. A nice funeral, roll him into a ditch – whatever works for those of us who are grieving. Just a note, I have strong objections to the ditch idea.
One of my brothers has strong objections to a traditional burial. Ideally, he wants to be launched into space. Realistically, he’ll take anything but being buried in a box.
I don’t know what I’d prefer. It’s not a pleasant topic for contemplation. I do like the idea of a tombstone. They’re great for a lasting memorial to the deceased, and they can reflect in some measure the person’s life, or the way they influenced the people around them. They’re also a good way to trace one’s family history, if there’s a family plot to explore.
I know what I really don’t want. There’s one way to handle remains that creeps me out. A person can be cremated, and their ashed compressed into a diamond. In theory it sounds almost touching, almost romantic. A loss transformed into a lasting and beautiful reminder of the lost loved one. I can’t help thinking, though, of the awkward conversations down the road.
“What a beautiful diamond ring!”
“Thanks, it was my great aunt.”
I don’t want dead me on someone’s finger. I don’t want dead anyone else on my finger.
This came to mind while listening to a Hawk Nelson song earlier today. The song was called Diamonds. Here’s the link: Hawk Nelson – Diamonds
It’s not a creepy song about dead-people diamonds. I just occasionally remember that you can make cremation diamonds when I think about diamonds. It’s a song about God’s use of life’s pressures and trials to purify us into something of great value.
The Bible talks a lot about trials in life being like a refining fire. It also talks a lot about dying: dying to sin, dying to self, dying to our own nature and taking up the nature of Christ instead.
I used to find those concepts unsettling. If I died to self, who would I be? If the ‘dross’ was burnt up, what would be left? Hawk Nelson says it well: Here and now/ I’m in the fire/ In above my head/ Being held under the pressure/ Don’t know what’ll be left.
They also answer those questions: But it’s here in the ashes I’m finding treasure/ He’s making diamonds.
These are not creepy dead-people diamonds. We’re being made into God’s diamonds – living, highly-valued, purified children of God who reflect His Son and shine beautifully.
Some days – or if I’m honest, many days – I don’t feel much like a diamond. I feel like an unattractive lump of carbon, and I sit there complaining about the refining process. But God knows what He’s doing. If He says so, I guess there will be a diamond there someday, and He’ll get me there in His time.