As the chill of the sharp winter mornings begins to bight, enthusiasm for the early morning start to the day has faded. However, we keep up the rhetoric and drag our reluctance along to try to live up to it.
Last week I met up with some Kimberly people at a funeral and we were chatting about life in that richly blest area of this Great South Land and the threat of possible industrial – petroleum and gas industry – developments being established in that beautiful pristine country. As conversation wandered about covering various matters of interest, I was regaled with a story of the celebration of the feast of the Ascension.
With a typical sense of delight they told me how one of the piccaninnies asked to tell the story of the Ascension of the Lord added that if one of them had been a disciple there watching, he would have run up and tickled the feet of the Lord as he disappeared into the clouds so that he would arrive in heaven laughing. And when asked, ‘What would God think of that?’ answered, that everyone would start laughing and they would all be rolling around in heaven laughing at the celebration for the Lord’s arrival back in heaven with his Father.
When driving home later, I thought to myself, what a great imagination some kids have, and what a wonderful image of arriving in the ‘next life’.
Having attended the funeral and the celebration of the life of Jim Carroll only a few days later, I was distracted during the Mass by the recurrence in my mind of this image and the story of the little kids. But as I listened to the recall and retelling of stories from Jim’s life, I began to wonder about his arrival in heaven and picking up the mode of reflection from those lively kids, I couldn’t help thinking that there would be a gathering of friends from this life around a nicely set table – linen tablecloth and serviettes, chrystal glasses, choice wine — and a banquet appropriate to Jim’s taste and custom. One would hope that in such a setting, Jim would not get a fit of the giggles as he often did at the mention of some humorous mishap.
As we farewelled Jim and lowered his simple little casket into the earth at Rupertswood it was farewell to a vital personal link with those whom he regarded as heroes, who coming from Europe and courageously faced the challenges of establishing the sturdy foundation of the Salesian Mission in this Great South Land and beyond. Surely now, the floods will come again and soon the fields of Rupertswood will be clothed once more with the waves of green pasture and generations of new life.