When I was a kid, I remember being terrified of the cemetery. Our pastor lived right next to the local cemetery and I had nightmares about it after the first time visiting them. As I've grown older, I wondered why. Why are we terrified of death, cemeteries and the like? I think its because death leads to the grave. An end point. Finality. But as believers in Jesus Christ, that's not how we should view death.
Since Brian's passing from this world to the next, I've begun to think more about death. Death can bring us to one of two places: the grave or the cross. Death is a terrifying thing when we think that things are over and the grave is final. Although, death can be something to rejoice in when we look at it through the eyes of Jesus' death on the cross. He died so that our physical death would not be final but rather the beginning of eternity with our Father in heaven. We don't think of these things often because death is not part of most of our normal thought process - but maybe it should be. I've noticed something in South Carolina that I rarely saw in Dallas: cemeteries right next to churches. At first I thought, "well that is kind of creepy" (thinking back to my own childhood experience), but it keeps us remembering that this life is temporary... and that death it is not the end but the beginning. The next time you drive by a cemetery, think about it: 'What does death mean to me? The end or the beginning? Where will I go when I die?'
Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope. For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him." - 1 Thes 4:13-14
As much as it pains us to have to say goodbye to Brian on this earth, we know that we will see him again some day and we rejoice in his graduation to heaven!