To be honest, the original title of this post was simply going to be “Death.” I suppose it’s not so surprising I’ve been thinking a lot about death lately. But then I came across this poem that Chris wrote and I had to acquiesce to a sliver of hope and honor and respect the hopeful way Chris lived, even in times of his own suffering.
I have shared with some friends that there are times I feel like I could just let go and die. Please don’t misunderstand. I’m not suicidal, and if you are, please call someone right now or call this number: 1 800-273-8255 y en español: 1-888-628-9454 or check out this site.
I don’t think Chris feared death, and his poetry would confirm this, but he also didn’t want to die yet. I don’t hear death, either, but as a mom I never wanted to leave Chris and Austin without me. I’m pretty sure almost all parents would agree. I know some of my friends who have or had cancer have fought for life because they always want to be there for their kids.
And now I feel this different way about death. I long for the day when I die and rise into the fullness of life promised by the Christ who died and conquered death so that we might live. And, of course, I’m here with Austin and I want to be with him as long as possible. Paradoxes. We Lutherans pride ourselves on them.
And to be honest again, this Lutheran pastor is finding it really hard to read the Bible right now, even though three are words that accompany on my journey.
Sometimes these words come up in my brain completely out of context, and even when I know they’re oot of context, that is where they sit.
These are the two lines that have been playing in my head the last couple of days from 1 Corinthians 11:55:
And I believe that death doesn’t win. Life and light and love and hope and compassion win. And someday I trust peace and maybe even happiness in some form will come to me again. Sometimes it takes a really, really long time, but this I believe.
But boy does death sting. It hurts. My body still aches. I sleep but I wake up feeling like there’s a weight holding me down. Maybe that’s where the expression about a heavy heart comes from. Maybe it’s my heavy heart causing my body to be so heavy.
But I had forgotten about the line that precedes these two: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.”
I had told Chris on a number of occasions he would be a preacher. He never responded, really. It seems he just left it open as a possibility. Well, I was right about that in the end, wasn’t I, though this is not at all the way I expected him to preach, through his poetry, through my words. Death took Chris’s physical presence from me and from so many that night. But death has been swallowed up in God’s love, in the love and compassion of so many, and in Chris’s words that often lift me in my darkest moments.
So I continue on this earthly journey as I ponder all of these things in my heart. I wonder now if Jesus’ mother Mary somehow pondered her son’s death, even from the beginning.
I am out of place and I can’t be anywhere else. I am lost and somehow…will I ever find my way back to my heart?
I found some of Chris’s doodles the other day. He keeps giving me gifts.
And this map of Voyageurs National Park where he would have likely led trips again this summer.