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A PROPHETIC PLAY
LIFE IS LIKE A BOOK
LIFE IS LIKE A BUTTERFLY
AN INSPIRATIONAL OUTLOOK ON LIFE AND DEATH
UNTIL DEATH PARTS US
VIOLA WALKS THE GOLDEN STREETS
AND GOD SAID "NO"
"I SHALL BE NO STRANGER THERE"
"WE'LL NEVER SAY GOOD-BYE"
"THE HOLY CITY"
"MAKE THE COURTS OF HEAVEN RING"
AN INSPIRATIONAL OUTLOOK ON LIFE and DEATH
A Memorial Service is often called "A Celebration of Life."
It embraces the concept that earthly life is a joyous journey and affirms that
death is but a transition to a celebration of life throughout eternity. Someone
has said, "Fortunate the man who not only looks forward to life beyond death,
but who also enjoys the journey to his eternal home."
The middle chapters of anyone's life describe the busy years: employment,
family, social life, church involvements, and many other activities. The ending
of the book comes at a different time for everyone. For some, their book of
life has few pages-death came too soon. Those who live to eighty, ninety, or
even a hundred, add page after page, creating a volume of history! For those
who know the Lord as their Saviour, no matter how many tear-drenched pages
their life's book contains, they can close with the words, "And I will live
happily ever after." Dr. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross said, "My problem is not with
death. My problem is with living. Death is always welcome to me." I have chosen
two illustrations to describe my earthly pilgrimage to eternity: Life is like a
book - Life is like a butterfly.
Benjamin Franklin wrote his own epitaph and here is a paraphrase:
The body of Benjamin Franklin is like the cover of an old book,
its contents are torn out and stripped of its lettering and gilt edges.
It lies here - food for worms.
Yet the work shall not be lost, for it will appear once more in a new and
beautiful edition, corrected and amended by the Author - God himself.
Life is a story in Volumes Three: The past, the present, the yet to
The first is finished, and laid away. The second we're reading day by day.
The third and last, or Volume Three, Is locked from sight in eternity.
The famous clergyman, John Donne, said:
All mankind is of one author, and is one volume;
when one man dies, one chapter is not torn out of the book,
but translated into a better language; and every chapter must be so
God employs several translators:
some pieces are translated by age, some by sickness,
some by war, some by justice; but God's hand is in every translation,
and His hand shall bind up all our scattered leaves again
for that library where every book shall lie open to one another.
Lives are made of chapters. After one is written, it cannot be
but we can write a new chapter with each new day.
Dr. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross used the butterfly as the central
image in her life and as a symbol of rebirth. During a visit to one of Hitler's
death factories in Poland, she struggled with the inhumanity of mankind. "How
can men and women do such things to each other? How did people survive in those
death camps?" As she toured these horror camps, she discovered one image
repeated again and again: butterflies.
"Why butterflies?" pondered the doctor. She found part of the answer from her
experiences in dealing with terminally-ill patients and the death process. Even
as caterpillars are released from their cocoons, so people are released from
pain-stricken, diseased bodies. To those in concentration camps, the butterfly
image portrayed release from miserable and horrendous experiences and helped
tortured people cope with the atrocities that befell them.
In Dr. Kubler-Ross's book The Wheel of Life she writes:
"When we have passed the tests we were sent to earth to learn, we are allowed
to graduate. We are allowed to shed our body, which imprisons our soul the way
a cocoon encloses the future butterfly, and when the time is right we can let
go of it. Then we will be free of pain, free of fears, and free of worries -
free as a beautiful butterfly . . . Death is but a transition from this life to
another existence where there is no more pain and anguish."
The ugly, ungainly caterpillar -
our body - enters a form
of the grave: the cocoon.
Out of this death emerges the
butterfly - beautiful, free,
no longer earthbound.
On earth, living is death
over there - to die is life
On this side of the grave we are exiles
over there - citizens
on this side - orphans
over there - children of God
on this side - captives
over there - free
on this side - tribulations and tears
over there - no more tears, pain, or death
There are many times I cried out from my "cocoon" to be free -
in early childhood,
from an alcoholic home;
in ensuing years,
from polio-paralyzed limbs;
in my Christian faith,
from my sins and failures.
Symbolically, I am earth-bound - like a caterpillar - in a world
which keeps me captive in a dark, restricting cocoon.
I know little about the world to which I am going,
but one day, I will burst out of my cocoon and be transformed into a new
Like a butterfly, I will soar into the heavens -
Call it what you may - transformation,
metamorphosis, glorification -
IT MEANS THAT I WILL BE
WITH THE LORD FOREVER!
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life:
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. (Psalm 23:6)
I said to the Lord, "Lord, let me be
Like the butterfly, so fine and so free.
Let my heart take wings and without a care,
Let me spread enjoyment everywhere!"
"My Child," said the Lord, "it's up to you.
Are you willing to trust me, like the butterflies do?"
"Yes, Lord, I trust you," was my glib reply,
(How much could it cost -- to be a butterfly?)
"Fine," said the Lord, "let's get on with it then,
Because first you must die - and that's how we begin!"
My heart skipped a beat, and my stomach grew tight,
As I said to the Lord, "Did I hear you right?"
"My Child," said the Lord, "surely you know -
The worm has to die, so that beauty can grow.
It's not easy, that's true, but My way is best,
And I'll be beside you all through your test."
Then the Lord took His finger and touched my heart;
And began to probe each secret part.
Each place He touched was exposed to the light,
And I could see myself as only He might.
Unforgiveness, anger, selfishness, too.
All had to go, if I would be new.
"I'm sorry," I cried, "please help me to DIE.
I do so want to be your BUTTERFLY."
"I love you, Jesus," was all I could say,
"Come into my heart, And make it Yours today.
Whatever it takes, Lord, I'm ready now,
Your servant is waiting, just show me how."
"My Child," said the Lord, "You have already begun,
And we'll continue to work till the job is done.
Little by little, each day you will die,
But you will live again, as my
Though our bodies are dying,
our inner strength in the Lord is growing every day.
These troubles and sufferings of ours are, after all,
quite small and won't last very long . . .
The troubles will soon be over,
but the joys to come will last forever.
How handicapped, how bound are we
When Christ was bound on Calvary?
He could not move a hand nor foot,
And He was wracked with anguish, but
He gave Himself to earnest prayer
For those whose weight of sins He bare.
"Father, forgive, they know not what they do." O child of God, say not,
"I am too handicapped, too bound, Too busy, and I have not found
A service I can do for Him." O Shame! Let us, with eyes grown dim,
Look back to Calvary. Bound helpless there,
The suffering Saviour gave himself to prayer!
Along the Golden Streets, Viola walks tonight,
With wonder in her heart, faith blossomed into sight.
She walks and stops and stares, and walks and stops again,
Vistas of loveliness, beyond the dreams of men.
Once bound with crutches, wheelchair, and shackled to her bed,
She can now climb eternal hills with light and easy tread.
She has escaped at last, the cruel clutch of pain;
Her lips shall never taste its bitter cup again.
Oh! Never call her dead, this buoyant one and free,
Whose daily portion is delight and ecstasy!
She bows in speechless joy, before the feet of Him,
Whom, seeing not, she loved, while yet her sight was dim.
Along the Golden Streets, Viola walks today,
Released at last from bondage, she's with the Lord to stay!
I asked God to take away my pride. And God said
He said it was not for Him to take away, but for me to give up.
I asked God to make my handicapped body whole.
And God said "No".
He said "Your spirit is whole - your body is only temporary."
I asked God to grant me patience. And God said "No".
He said "Patience is a by-product of tribulations.
It isn't granted - it is earned."
I asked God to give me happiness. And God said "No".
He said He gives me blessings - happiness is up to me.
I asked God to spare me pain. And God said "No".
He said suffering draws me apart from worldly cares
And brings me closer to Him.
I asked God to make my spirit grow. And God said "No".
He said I must grow on my own,
But He will prune me to make me fruitful.
I asked for all things that I might enjoy life. And God said "No".
He said He will give me life, that I may enjoy all things.
I asked God to help me love others, as much as he loves me.
And God said "Ah, finally you have the discovered the right idea!"
(Left) Fred and Viola Pahl, married on
May 4, 1946
(Right) As at 2003 - still going strong.
(Center) A sunset view they see from their condo in White Rock, BC
BEYOND THE SUNSET, O GLAD REUNION,
WITH OUR DEAR LOVED ONES WHO'VE GONE BEFORE;
IN THAT FAIR HOMELAND, WE'LL KNOW NO PARTING,
BEYOND THE SUNSET, FOR EVERMORE!
The following verses by Albert Bowell were found on an old
record from the 1950s. In the background, the beautiful hymn "Beyond the
Sunset" softly played. The verses were spoken alternately by a man and
Should you go first and I remain To walk the road alone,
I'll live in memory's garden, dear, With happy days we've known.
In Spring I'll watch for roses red When fades the lilac blue,
In early Fall when brown leaves fall, I'll catch a glimpse of you.
Should you go first and I remain For battles to be fought,
Each thing you've touched along the way Will be a hallowed spot.
I'll hear your voice, I'll see your smile, Though blindly I may grope,
The memory of your helping hand Will buoy me on with hope.
Should you go first and I remain To finish with the scroll,
No length'ning shadows shall creep in To make this life seem droll.
We've known so much of happiness, We've had our cup of joy,
And memory is one gift of God That death cannot destroy.
Should you go first and I remain, One thing I'd have you do.
Walk slowly down that long, lone path, For soon I'll follow you.
I'll want to know each step you take That I may walk the same.
For someday, down that lonely road, You'll hear me call your name.
Is there anything more wonderful than a
LIFE filled with the love and peace of the Lord?
And when the last chapter of life's book ends,
it means that the "beginning"
of eternal life has begun!
How weary we grow of our present bodies.
That is why we look forward eagerly to the day
when we shall have heavenly bodies
that we shall put on like new clothes.
Now we look forward with confidence to our heavenly bodies,
realizing that every moment we spend in these earthly bodies
is time spent away from our eternal home in heaven with Jesus.
For we know that when this tent we live in now is taken down-
when we die and leave these bodies-
we will have wonderful new bodies in heaven,
homes that will be ours forevermore,
made for us by God himself and not by human hands.
Though life's earthly story must come to an end,
Much more awaits us in glory, dear friend.
When the troubles and struggles of life are o'er,
We'll greet each other on the golden shore.
We'll pass through pearly gates and see our great King,
The portals of heaven will ring as we sing,
"Crown Him - crown Him Lord of all for evermore."
Angels join the chorus as our Lord we adore.
Heaven's resplendent with gems gleaming bright,
Beryl, Pearl, Topaz, Sapphire, and Chrysolite,
In that city where we'll never grow old,
The streets are paved with priceless, precious gold.
Though some of life's "pages" were stained with tears,
Our Lord was with us to calm all our fears.
Many pages were filled with times of gladness
Far surpassing the times of gloom and sadness.
One day, dear friend, we'll continue the story
Of abundant life in heaven's glory.
Our Lord's hand we'll clasp, and celebrate with praise,
Our exalted King through eternal days.
When the pearly gates are opened To a sinner "sav'd by grace,"
When thro' everlasting mercy, I behold my Saviour's face,
When I enter in the mansions Of the city bright and fair,
I shall have a royal welcome, For I'll be no stranger there.
I'll be no stranger there, Jesus will my place prepare;
He will meet me, He will greet me, I shall be no stranger there.
THE LAST WORDS IN MY BOOK OF LIFE WILL BE:
"and I shall live happily ever after in the house of the Lord"
LIKE A BUTTERFLY RELEASED FROM ITS COCOON,
I, TOO, SHALL BE FREE - FREE AT LAST!
WHEN WE GET TO HEAVEN, WE WILL NOT NEED
WHEELCHAIRS, CANES, CRUTCHES, ETC.
SO WE WILL LEAVE THEM AT THE GATE, AND BE FREE FOREVERMORE.
THERE WILL BE…
TEARS, DEATH, SORROW, PAIN, SIN, HUNGER, THIRST
BLINDNESS, CANES, HEARING AIDS,
IRON LUNGS or
AND THEN YOU GAVE ME
WITH ALL MY HEART, I praise you, dear Lord!
To my family and friends, REMEMBER -
Our friends on earth we meet with pleasure,
While swift the moments fly,
Yet ever comes the thought of sadness,
That we must say "good-bye."
How joyful is the thought that lingers,
When lov'd ones cross death's sea,
That when our labours here are ended,
With them we'll ever be.
No parting words shall e'er be spoken,
In that bright land of flow'rs,
But songs of joy and peace and gladness,
Shall ever more be ours.
We'll never say "good-bye" in heav'n;
We'll never say "good-bye,"
For in that land of joy and song,
We'll never say "good-bye."
Last night I lay a sleeping,
There came a dream so fair,
I stood in old Jerusalem Beside the temple there.
I heard the children singing,
And ever as they sang,
Methought the voice of angels From heav'n in answer rang;
Jerusalem! Jerusalem! Lift up your gates and sing,
Hosanna in the highest! Hosanna to your king!
And then methought my dream was changed,
The streets no longer rang,
Hushed were the loud hosannas,
The little children sang.
The sun grew dark with mystery,
The morn was cold and chill,
As the shadow of a cross arose Upon a lonely hill,
And once again the scene was changed,
New earth there seemed to be,
I saw the Holy City Beside the tideless sea;
The light of God was on its streets,
The gates were open wide,
And all who would might enter, And no one was denied.
No need of moon or stars by night, Or sun to shine
It was the new Jerusalem That would not pass away,
Jerusalem! Jerusalem! Sing for the night is o'er!
Hosanna in the highest! Hosanna forever more!
There is singing up in heaven such as we have never known
Where the angels sing the praises of the Lamp upon the throne,
Their sweet harps are ever tuneful and their voices always clear,
Oh, that we might be more like them while we serve the Master here.
But I hear another anthem blending voices clear and strong,
"Unto Him that hath redeemed us and has bought us," is the song.
"We have come thro' tribulations to this land so fair and bright,
In the fountain freely flowing He hath made our garments white."
Then the angels stand and listen, for they cannot join that song,
Like the sound of many waters, by that happy, blood-wash'd throng
For they sing about great trials, battles fought and vict'ries won,
And they praise their great Redeemer who hath said to them, "Well done."
So, although I'm not an angel, yet I know that over there,
I will join a blessed chorus that the angels cannot share;
I will sing about my Saviour who upon dark Calgary,
Freely pardoned my transgressions, died to set a sinner free.
Holy, holy, is what the angels sing,
and I expect to help them make the courts of heaven ring;
But when I sing redemption's story, they will fold their wings,
For angels never felt the joys that our salvation brings.
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