Friday, April 3, 2009

untimely death

This morning as I was checking facebook, a college friend messaged me. She is living overseas, and although I really had a lot to do, I sensed that... well, I sensed sadness. So, for the next hour before work I sat in front of the computer and we chatted. I was right, the conversation really was needed right at that moment, and one of the things we talked about was the death of my friend Mandy last year, which is still being grieved.

I also just got out of the live-streaming coverage of the funeral of one of the guys from the organization we work for. I wrote about his death last week, because he was young and he left a young family with special needs behind, so it's just sort of one of those punch-in-the-gut deaths (like Mandy's) that seems especially wrong. To be honest, I've never been to a funeral. I've always been far away from the people that I love that have passed away.

As I wrote about here, I have been wrestling with the paradox of suffering and joy and hope. My friend Simon and I have been talking a lot about eschatology and how dealing with tragedy plays into your eschatology. He is working with the persecuted church overseas and is finding it a very hopeless place - where is the protection of Christ for His people? Where is the hope?

I don't believe that heaven is the only hope - I believe there is beauty and life and love and community here on earth and that WE are called to life and love to the world... but I also understand that we live in a very dark and broken world, and there are times when that reality is overwhelming. Like today. Seeing families weep for what they've lost. Realizing that this middle-aged woman who was married to an amazing man is waking up every morning without him there. That is broken. That is when it is important to remember that this is not the way it is meant to be.

The final photo on the slide show of Carl's life was from their family visit to the US last summer, and it shows him looking out over gorgeous snow-capped mountains spread out into the horizon in front of him. When Carl's brother gave the message, it was punctuated by moments of laughter (Carl was a genius of a man and also a crazy joker, so his life is remembered with laughter), but also moments where he choked up and struggled to get through is words. He read passages from the Chronicles of Narnia, which he finished reading with his daughter two days before Carl died. This was from The Last Battle

"It was the Unicorn who summed up what everyone was feeling. He stamped
his right fore-hoof on the ground and neighed, and then he
cried: "I have come home at last! This is my real
country! I belong here. This is the land I have been looking for all my life,
though I never knew it till now. The reason why we loved the old Narnia is that
is sometimes looked a little like this. Bree-hee-hee! Come further up, come
further in!""

1 comment:

Jaimie said...

Amen, Lewis. Death is the best thing could ever happen to someone, in my opinion.