“The Book of Joy” – Conversations between the Dali Lama & Desmond Tutu
My friend attempted to console a close relative who lost his daughter to cancer, at the age of 45. She left behind a loving husband and two wonderful children, 8 & 12. She was beautiful, talented, successful, caring, and a host of other superlatives that we wish upon our children. She was a mirror image of her parents.
Ironically, her father sent my friend the “Book of Joy” at the onset of his daughter’s struggle with cancer. The copy sent was underlined, with comments in the margins, stressing that “Joy” does not come from money, possessions, fame. Or talent. (The father was worth hundreds of millions, had homes on both coasts, and in the mountains, furnished with tasteful antiques, along with the best cars, and an airplane.)
All of that stuff could not provide the solace he was seeking about his daughter’s future.
Both, The Dali Lama and the Archbishop agreed that “Joy” does not come from fortune or fame, or any other secular or tangible stuff. They differed on the answer to “What dreams may come when we shed this mortal coil?” The Dali Lama’s answer to the essence of our existence lies within each person. Through contemplation and reincarnation. A person constantly refines himself, approaching, but never achieving perfection. That asymptotical process is based on self-reliance and mental focus. A process the father practiced all his life.
The father was very intelligent and well educated. He lived all of his life based solely on self-reliance. There wasn’t much time or room to consider a higher power outside of himself. But now, all his fortune, status, influence, and solutions were worthless. (His wife confided that all he does is sit in a chair, and cry.) So, he doubted the value of his congruity to the Dali Lama’s self-reliance philosophy.
Archbishop Desmond Tutu provided an expanded Christian response, based on C. S. Lewis’ observation: “We don’t have a soul. We are a soul. We have a body.”
The Redemptive Cross insured that everyone’s soul will enjoy the companionship of God’s Peace & Joy, forever – “No more death, nor pain, nor tears.” God’s unilateral, unconditional mercy, love, and forgiveness was spoken by Christ, from the Cross: “Father forgive them (His Jewish accusers and Roman executioners), for they know not what they do.” My friend thought that the father sent him the book to confirm those facts.
So, my friend sent a reassuring letter that all God’s children are the beneficiaries of God’s unconditional love, because all enjoy the welcoming embrace, of the outstretched arms, of the forgiveness, of the Redemptive Cross, equally. If she believed that the above statements are immutable and true. Then, his daughter will witness the Majestic Creator’s Power & Wisdom, the Loving Redeemer’s Mercy & Love, and the Holy Spirit’s Peace & Joy, forever.
So, we do not say “Good-Bye”, but merely “Auf Wiedersehen” – for all with belief in Christ will meet again.
My friend received a thank you letter after he sent “Reflections at Time of Passing”, upon the daughter’s passing. (The father no longer sits & cries.)