Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Thoughts regarding the term R.I.P

I have been seeing a trend a lot lately on facebook and in articles where people use the term R.I.P. when a person dies. Every time I see it I kind of immediately get that nauseated feeling that goes along with someone saying something really tacky. Because of this I decided to think through why I feel so strongly against people saying R.I.P. so and so. First I looked it up to see what the history of R.I.P. is. R.I.P. is the abbreviation for the latin term Reqiescat in Pace which means Rest in Peace. I couldn't find a lot of information on it but one source did say that it was said to assure the soul would not be tormented in eternity. I also saw references to it being used lightly in cartoons and such shows as The Family Guy.
Those finding though sparse confirmed my gut feelings. When I think of R.I.P., I think about halloween decorations(which I also find very tacky), cartoons, and bad over-the-hill jokes. My history of the term is of it being used in either a gory or joking manner. When I hear someone say R.I.P. , as silly as it sounds I think they might as well be saying "Word up!" or some other slang. Last I knew using slang for the death of a loved one was not acceptable. It definitely isn't a classy comment, a comforting comment, or even a hopeful comment. Why not say, "Hey, dude! I hope you aren't in eternal torment right now."
Whenever I see this term written, I always want to say, "Really? That is the best you have right now? You can't think of anything comforting or real to say." How about saying, "I am going to miss so and so. Praying for comfort for their family," or "So and So was a great friend and we shared so many wonderful memories. I am thankful they no longer know pain and sorrow." I can think of so many appropriate things to say and none of which are flippant and show lack of consideration for the person's family.
Honestly, and here is where it gets personal, if someone had started a facebook page called R.I.P. Knox Anderson, I'd have been terribly offended. I'd have thought they were treating him and us with no more consideration than people on a very tacky TV show, horror movies, halloween decorations, and bad jokes. Also, I'd have thought, "Is that really all they hope for him is that he rests in peace." Because I am pretty sure he is doing more than resting in peace. Yes he knows a peace that comes from lack of pain, sorrow, tiredness, and grief, but he is glorying in his redeemer and spending an eternity in blissful worship.
So next time, you'd like to comment on the death of someone you care about, take into consideration the words you say. Find something true and meaningful about the person's life. If they aren't a family member, think of words you can say that will bring comfort and pleasure to their family. Please don't be flippant and casual, but kind and caring.

6 comments:

carishepard said...

Amen!

Anonymous said...

My sediments exactly!
Grandma

kellycbf said...

Thank you for sharing. Great thoughts.

Susan

Jennifer said...

Thanks so much for posting this, Rachel. I, too, have always gotten a rather sick feeling when I hear/read that phrase used, and have noticed it becoming more and more prevalent recently. I've never been able to really put my finger on "why", but you did it with this post...especially this:

"Because I am pretty sure he is doing more than resting in peace. Yes he knows a peace that comes from lack of pain, sorrow, tiredness, and grief, but he is glorying in his redeemer and spending an eternity in blissful worship."

Thanks for sharing your heart on this!

Kelly said...

Great thoughts, Rachel! I was ready to scream the other day after seeing it in reference to my brother on a gazillion facebook pages. I think often for those without Christ, they just don't know what else to say. They don't have the hope/assurance that someone is glorying in the Redeemer.

Anne said...

I couldn't agree more. I think it doesn't help that R.I.P. actually spells a word--a word that has nothing to do with peace or death.