Thursday, February 07, 2008

a time to mourn...

It has really taken me a while to mill this over before posting, changing and editing my thoughts endlessly. I am going to stop messing with it and just post it. Here it goes.

I have been deeply and profoundly saddened recently by some news I recieved re: some friends of mine losing their 4-year-old child in a tragic accident. The last couple of months have been peppered with loss and this news catches me still in the middle of processing the loss of a friend after a long battle with breast cancer. It also comes at a time when I was processing the words attributed to Jesus in Matthew 10: 34- 39: "Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth; I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and one's foes will be members of one's own household. Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; and whoever does not take up the cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Those who find their life will lose it and those who lose their life for my sake will find it." I have nothing remarkably pastoral to say in sharing this with you as I simply share this with you b/c I find myself processing these words of Jesus at the same time I am processing the tragic loss of life. Through my life, I have come to find that often times that seemingly un-connected things can come at you at the same time and assist you in making connections. For now, I see that there may be some connection in that Jesus words are about our relationships with others and two relationships I have been a part of have been touched significantly by loss. Still, I am coming up with more questions than answers. Some of those being:
  • Am I too attached to my personal relationships with others that I neglect my relationship with God?
  • Is attachment to temporary things like relationships in and of itself a negative thing, esp. when it comes to our attachment to people and community?
  • Is what Jesus is suggesting cold and callous or is he attempting to help the disciples, and in turn the current reader, better understand the fleeting aspect to life and therefore the temporary nature of relationships we establish with family and friends during said life?

Through experience, reason, tradition, and Scripture I have come to recognize the instability and temporary nature of life, that we are never gauranteed anything. We like to live and work at establishing control; organizing our lives in order to give everyone around us the impression that we have control over everything but we are really fooling ourselves. We really control very little about what goes on in our lives b/c there are so many variable factors that we face that negate our ability to really control. The attention level of the drivers in the cars around me on the freeway, the way my blood cells identify other cells in my body, the force and path of a tornado, for example, are just a few of the millions of things which I cannot actively control. Often times too, it is when we attempt to exert control over some things that they end up being destroyed, our lives included. When all of our time is spent trying to exert control over uncontrollable elements, we end up burning ourselves out. When we attempt to control the ones we love, we end up pushing them away and destroying our relationship with them. I have also come to recognize that God is not some cosmic puppeteer. Go ahead and call me an open theist, but I believe that the God who loves us so much as to know the numbers of hairs on our head also loves us enough to endow us with freewill, which therefore allows us to make decisions for ourselves that have (even after we dissect and overanalyze these decisions) both negative and positive outcomes. That the God who creates the cosmos and seeks to redeem it also creates the opportunity for anything to happen there. As a created being, I have come to recognize that the reason I have learned the lesson that often exerting control over something ultimately destroys it b/c my creator God has learned that lesson too.

But all this processing and theological thought fails to cover my grief and surely the grief of all those who were touched by this loss. I am still emotionally petrified by the idea of losing those close to me to death even though I have faith that I will share in eternal life with them. We read in Ecclesiates that there is a time for everything and now may be a time to mourn. I pray continually for the Hyatt and Manieri families knowing that there will also be a time of peace, laughter, and happiness.

No comments: