“The Tomb is Not A Blind Alley: It Is A Thoroughfare! It Closes On The Twilight, It Opens On The Dawn!”


Several months ago I attended a funeral for a long time friend. He had served with me in many church assignments over the past twenty five years. He was relatively young but his heath had been failing for some time. As I sat there in the pews listening to friends and family memorialize his life I couldn’t help but ponder on the shortness of our time on earth. For some it is shorter than for others but once you reach my age you have experienced death enough to know that the day will come when you will be the one being memorialized. Your earth life will be neatly wrapped up in an hour service and your body will be laid in the ground. This would be a depressing scenario to the end of our story if not for our understanding of, and faith in a Savior, Jesus Christ. Many men and women, of all faiths, are buoyed up in the hope of the resurrection promised to all who come to this earth.

“For half a century I have been writing my thoughts in prose and in verse; history, philosophy, drama, romance, tradition, satire, ode, and songs; I have tried all. But I feel I have not said the thousandth part of what is in me. When I go down to the grave I can say like many others- ‘I have finished my day’s work.” But I cannot say, ‘I have finished my life’. My day’s work will begin again the next morning. The tomb is not a blind alley: it is a thoroughfare. It closes on the twilight, it opens on the dawn.”- Victor Hugo (1802-1885)

Mr. Hugo has long since been laid in the tomb, but I am convinced that he walked that “thoroughfare” to the new dawn on the other side. I am sure that he is still writing down his thoughts regarding experiences he is having in the spirit world. No living man knows for sure how things “work” on the other side of the mountain, just that it is there. The famous American playwright Arthur Miller wrote “Death of a Salesman”, which tells of the life and tragic death of a salesman named Willy Lowman. At the age of sixty-three Willy loses his job and in despair commits suicide. He does this in order to secure the financial welfare of his family through his life insurance policy.

I have been a salesman almost my entire life. I can certainly empathize with Willy’s plight. Selling can be a hard job. Often your value is based solely on that month’s, or week’s, or day’s sales production. And if that is all I had to evaluate my life’s work on, I might consider a similar fate. But, I doubt very seriously, when the end of my days come, that much will be said of my sales career. And looking down from above, I will be highly disappointed if it is! I am in hopes that the more important aspects of my life will be recited before those in attendance. Willy Lowman’s mistake was thinking that the end of this life was the sum total of who he was or would ever be as a salesman. His despair in not reaching “greatness”, as he perceived it, drove him to take his own life.

Sadly many live out their lives in a similar fashion. They never fully understand that this is just a way station in the big plan. No more than a moment in time. The sum total of a man is not to be found just in this life. I have a strong testimony that the resurrection is real. Consequently I have never felt the same despair in my life as Willy Lowman. I know that the Savior lives and because of “that”, after the death of “this” salesman, my life will go on. I just hope there aren’t sales quotas on the other side! Those I can live without!


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