What greater gift can we give to our world than our joy and our laughter? This is the gift which
Mike gave to me and to so many of you. I couldn’t be around him without laughing, not that we didn’t have our
serious moments, but he was always full of jokes and he especially enjoyed the Irish ones. Mike didn’t throw
his head back and belly-laugh like the rest of us. He tucked his head down and chuckled.
Our mother named my brother, Kerron Michael O’Bryan. She loved that Irish name but Mike thought
”Kerron” sounded feminine and was never fond of it so in later years he asked to be called “Mike”.
Many of you knew him simply as “KOB.” Since I am the oldest sibling, I can remember his birth as
well as the births of Tim and Ben. I was too young when Ralph and Phillip were born to remember theirs.
I enjoyed being my younger brothers “little mother” but oh, how I wished for a sister.
Mike was the ring-bearer at my first wedding in this very church. I was only seventeen. He was eight
years old, small for his age, and wore his first communion suit. I had the privilege of living close by
as he and my other four brothers grew into manhood and it didn’t take long for me to realize that I wouldn’t
have traded any one of them for a sister.
When Mike was in his teens, he and his friends had several parties in our home at Sorgho. They were
a boisterous crew who would arrive with honking horns and their girlfriends riding on the hoods of their cars.
He always invited me to join them in the fun, although I don’t remember any of them coming the next day to
help with the clean-up.
Once, Mike even took me out dancing. I don’t remember where, but I do recall that an acquaintance of mine,
sitting at the bar, (who didn’t know Mike), kept eyeing us suspiciously since we were having such a great time.
Mike, who always loved playing pranks, couldn’t resist hugging me and giving me frequent kisses on the
cheek to keep my acquaintance guessing.
We recall our fondest memories of a loved one who dies and it also gives us the opportunity to ask ourselves,
“What is death anyway?”
Some years ago, a friend, who was dying of cancer, asked me to take her to a program at St. Mary’s Hospital In Evansville. Doctor Joan Boysensko, was the keynote speaker. She stunned me with her opening words. She made a sweeping gesture and
said, “Lets level the playing field here, there are no us and them, we are all dying.” I have never been able to forget those words. She went on to say, as many others have, that the basis of all of our fears is the fear of death.
But what if…death is nothing to fear? Contrary to what is usually reported, consciousness is rising in our world. I don’t remember where I read it but someone wrote, “We are moving from cocksure ignorance to questioning uncertainty.” I find
that inquiry keeps my mind open to greater possibilities.
What if…some of our beliefs surrounding life and death are just patterns sewn into our psyches by our ancestors?
Jesus said, “You are the LIGHT of the world.“ What could he have meant by “Light of the world?”
Well, what do we know about light? If we consider the sun, we know it shines on everything and everyone equally
and without judgment. We know that it has no boundaries. We know that it is luminous and radiant.
What if…the body only appears to be a boundary?
What if…we are always in communion with our creator, the embodiment of love, harmony and beauty?
What if…we cannot be separated from our Source any more than the rays of the sun can be separated from the sun itself?
Mike certainly believed that the spirit has no boundaries. Once, he called me from Denver and said he felt an invisible being
sitting on his bed and he thought it might be me. I feel him, not sitting on my bed, but surrounding me with infinite love.
I expect most of you have heard or read about ordinary people, not mystics or saints, who have had, what we have labeled as, quote, a “near death” episode and have reported that they experienced being oneness, being bliss, being love itself.
What if…it is time to start identifying with the spirit that we are instead of the body?
What if…it is only from this higher perspective that we can solve the problems in our world?
What if…Mike is now aware that he is love and that this is true for everyone who has stepped though the veil of time
and matter that we call “death?”
What if…what we call the BODY OF CHRIST is similar to a forest of Banyan trees which are all connected by one root?
Christ did say, “I am the vine and you are the branches.”
Today, even scientists are discovering that we are all ONE. They call this phenomena, “entanglement.” Cosmologists tell us that our every thought, belief, and action affects the whole world, that the flutter of a butterfly wing in America can affect a tsunami in Japan.
What if…calling birth, the beginning of life, and death the end of life, is not accurate? According to Christ we ARE life itself, infinite and everlasting.
Mike, you live in laughter, in memory, in our hearts and in our Oneness. When I hear or read, an Irish joke I will think of you.
When I see birds swimming in the endless sky, I will think of you.
And…when I am at prayer, you will be present. I choose to remember you as being joyful; twisting your face into that funny little smile you always had when you were amused. Christ said, “I am with you always.”
Mike, I love you, I know you are not in these ashes or anywhere apart.
You live in my heart and everywhere and I believe you are with us always.