Monday, June 18, 2007

Parable of the Twins

Next week I will be officiating at a funeral with another pastor from a neighboring church. He offered to read this story as part of the funeral, saying that it was about life after death and that many people find it comforting. I had never heard of the story and went in search of it. I'd like to know what you think of it.

Once upon a time, a set of twins were conceived in the same womb.

Weeks passed, and the twins developed. As their awareness grew, they laughed for joy, "Isn't it great that we were conceived? Isn't it great to be alive?"

Together the twins explored their world. When they found their mother's cord that gave them life they sang for joy, "how great is our mother's love that she shares her own life with us."

As the weeks stretched into months the twins noticed how much each was changing.

"What does this mean?", asked the one.

"It means that our stay in this world is drawing to an end", said the other one.

"But I don't want to go", said the one, "I want to stay here always."

"We have no choice", said the other, "but maybe there is life after birth!"

"But how can it be?" responded the one. "We will shed our life cord, and how is life possible without it? Besides, we have seen evidence that others were here before us and none of them have returned to tell us that there is life after birth."

And so the one fell into deep despair saying, "If conception ends with birth, what is the purpose of life in the womb? It's meaningless! Maybe there is no mother at all."

"But there has to be", protested the other. "How else did we get here? How do we remain alive?"

"Have you ever seen our mother?", said the one. "Maybe she lives in our minds. Maybe we made her up because the idea made us feel good."

And so the last days in the womb were filled with deep questioning and fear and finally the moment of birth arrived.

When the twins had passed from their world, they opened their eyes and cried, for what they saw exceeded their fondest dreams.

Eye has not seen, ear has not heard, nor has it so much as dawned on people what God has prepared for those who love Him (or Her).

For 'In him we live and move and have our being'; as even some of your own poets have said, 'For we too are his offspring.'


June Butler said...

Cynthia, I love the story. And it's not one of the treacly, death-denying life after death stories. It's about moving on to another stage of life about which we know very little.

As for your passages from the Scriptures, that is my hope. I have no idea what life after death is like, but my hope is that it will exceed my fondest dreams.

God is Emmanuel now, and I trust that he/she will be Emmanuel then.

johnieb said...

I did not find it overly treacly, and I have less tolerance than almost everyone I've met.

Mimi's saying is sure, and worthy of full respect; "you younguns listen to yer grandmere, you hear?"


you care to cop to where in Connecticut? Yer not UMC and once in Enfield, I trust?

Peace/ Hoa Binh
y'all; yeah, dadgumit: all y'all.

Francis Drake said...

A first-time respondent here, hello.

The story could perhaps be a variant of this bit of Rumi:

Little by little, wean yourself. This is the gist of what I have to say. From an embryo, whose nourishment comes in the blood, move to an infant drinking milk, to a child on solid food, to a searcher after wisdom, to a hunter of more invisible game.
Think how it is to have a conversation with an embryo. You might say, The world outside is vast and intricate. There are wheat fields and mountain passes, and orchards in bloom. At night, there are millions of galaxies, and in sunlight the beauty of friends dancing at a wedding.
You would ask the embryo why he, or she, stays cooped up in the dark with eyes closed. Listen to the answer.
There is no other world. I only know what I’ve experienced. You must be hallucinating.
— Rumi, from Stephen Mitchell: The Enlightened Mind, p. 102

The point is in any case well taken. Shalom.

Andy said...


This is a great story. At once both elegent and inspiring in its simplicity.

Cynthia said...

Mimi, isn't wonderful to think that the incarnation does not end with our earthly existence? Seems like such a paradox.

Welcome, Johnieb. I am UCC--check my "Places to Go" and you will find the church of which I am a member. Thanks for the 'dadgumit'--was one of my southern grandfather's favorite expletives.

Welcome, Francis Drake. Should we call you 'Sir'? Thank you for the Rumi--I especially like the 'hunter of more invisible game'.

Andy, and this from a conservative Baptist minister, sharing a story in which God is mother. Just goes to show we can't pigeon-hole anyone.