No Turning Back

Mourning Picture by Edwin Romanzo Elmer

This painting tells what appears to be a sad story and hence called "Mourning Picture". It was a type of picture painted at the time to help grieving parents remember their child who has died.

The parents sit in black mourning attire in the shady side of the painting. Although they face each other in their chairs they are not speaking or even looking at anything in particular. They are frozen in their thoughts. The husband holds the newspaper but doesn't read it. The mother just sits. Behind their daughter's doll buggy lays her hat on the ground as though she disappeared out from under it.

On the left side of the painting stands their daughter looking back at all she has left behind. She too is in her own world standing with a lamb and a cat -- living friends unlike her doll. The daughter stands quietly in the light thoughtfully looking back but she does not turn her body to go back.

It is like there is a clear wall separating one side of the picture from the other. They are so close and yet so far. This is how it will be with our loved ones that precede us into eternity.

Grabbing hold of the lamb is symbolic of being in the company of Christ. Once our loved ones are in his presence there is no desire to go back.

The lamb firmly stands and looks the other way ready to lead her further into a Heavenly world prepared for her. There is a very real world beyond this one we are in. Those who have known the "lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world" and accepted his sacrifice on the cross for themselves will have the privilege to inherit the Kingdom of God as their final home.

However nice earth may be, there will be no desire to go back once we join Jesus in His Father's kingdom. The mourning will only be on the part of the ones left behind. And even for them "joy will come in the morning" if they too belong to Christ.

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