Death and Resurrection

Dying is messy. Most people don’t manage to die with their hair styled or tidily in their best suit and tie. Looking good isn’t what death is about.

Dying is often painful, both emotionally and physically. Even those, who find peace from acceptance or joy from a sense of God’s loving presence, struggle before getting to that point. Dying isn’t comfortable or entertaining.

Dying is not a social event. It sometimes brings feelings of rejection, because some of our family and friends aren’t ready to face the reality of death, so they may get very busy elsewhere.

Dying is scary and lonely. Only a few have lived to tell about it. And though our loved ones may hold our hand, we know we must go alone.

Dying is an experience of total helplessness. No matter how rich or competent or powerful we are in life, dying wipes out the last illusion that we are in control.

Dying is the final cross. Not one we carry, but one we hang on, suspended between heaven and earth wondering if we’ve been abandoned on both sides.

Yet dying is the doorway to life. It’s a very narrow gate and it’s the only gate out.

The true Christian life (not the insurance game or the private club versions) is a series of deaths and resurrections that prepare us for that final one.

Deaths and resurrections such as:

Letting go of our need to look good by hiding behind masks: becoming free to be our truest and fullest self.

Letting go of our illusion of security from belonging to the right group: finding brothers and sisters where we never thought to look.

Letting go of our anesthetic of choice; work, competition, television, twitter, legalism, consumerism, food, sex, alcohol: by allowing ourselves to feel deeply the fears and sorrows of our lives, becoming capable of joy and love.

Letting go of our dependency on others: parents, spouses, friends, or anyone else for validation; recognizing the Spirit of God within our own hearts.

Letting go of needing talents, ministries, and achievements to feel valuable: finding inner peace from the unconditional love of God expressed in Jesus.

Letting go of everything as Jesus did:

“Very truly I tell you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain, but if it dies, it bears much fruit. Those who love their life lose it, and those who hate their life in this world will keep it for eternal life. Whoever serves me must follow me, and where I am, there will my servant be also.” John 12:24-26

So, this is where it both ends and begins for us, on the cross with Jesus, being taken by Him through the doorway of death to eternal life.

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About Eileen

Mother of five, grandmother of eleven, great-grandmother of seven, 1955 -1959 Rice University in Houston, TX. Taught primary grades; Was Associate Post Director of Religious Education at Ft. Campbell, KY; Consultant on the Myers/Briggs Type Indicator; Presently part time Administrative Assistant/Bookkeeper for Architect husband of fifty-seven years. Blog: Laughter: Carbonated Grace

Posted on February 22, 2012, in Spiritual. Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.

  1. Reblogged this on Laughter: Carbonated Grace and commented:

    @Hannah Maxwell….this ties to what we’ve been posting about.

  2. I found your anecdotes about dying interesting, especially in the light of the debate on assisted suicide or dying with dignity. The infomercials paint a different picture. Food for thought.

    • Nothing is simple and clear cut, is it? My mother died by inches for fourteen years with Alzheimer’s.
      Just about wiped out my faith. Two things happened that gave me hope that suffering has some meaning.
      Coming home from my job as DRE one Sunday, I had not gotten to church because of some crises in the Religious Ed program. After seven years we had finally had to put mom in a nursing home and I was devastated. I was driving down a country back road and saw people going into a little church. My denomination didn’t have Sunday evening services and I really felt a need for worship, so I felt drawn to stop and join the service. I realized that everyone was black and worried that I would be an intruder, so I kept going. It was raining lightly, but steadily and an elderly black man dressed in a suit was walking toward the church I had passed pretty far down the road. I stopped and offered to turn around and give him a ride. He accepted and when I let him out, he invited me to join them at the service, so I took it as God’s hint and went. It turned out to be several local choirs meeting for a musical service. It was beautiful and one song about learning the reason for things someday hit home to me, particularly knowing how long African Americans had suffered, yet kept the faith. After mom died, I realized that an unconscious hope that she would at least recognize me again was now gone. While waiting for a friend across the street from a small florist’s shop, I was fighting tears and questioning God again. I didn’t want to be crying when my friend came so I got out of the car and went into the shop. The first thing I saw was a brightly colored card on a rack. It said in large letters, “Earth has no sorrow that heaven cannot heal.” I don’t know that the answer is the same in every situation. I think each person has to listen and watch for God’s guidance in their situation. Thanks so much for reading my posts and commenting. You brought up a very valid point. I really don’t think the answer is the same for every situation, just that we need to seek grace and wisdom when making those kind of decisions. Of course, the problem is that not every one does, and the laws are for everyone.

      • Hi Eileen, thanks for sharing. What a difficult time it must have been for you and your family. You know, on a logical level, I don’t ‘see’ that your examples show that suffering has meaning. But I have lived long enough to know that logical answers do not necessarily answer pain’s cry. I have come to know and I am beginning to fully believe the words you saw on the card. I am turning it over in my mind and it brings comfort to me too. “Earth has no sorrow that heaven cannot heal.”

        • thanks for the reply….there was a post on Holistic Wayfarer yesterday sharing the journey of parents of a son with Autism.
          I have a granddaughter with autism and this is one of the best things I’ve read about what suffering can do to stretch us
          and deepen and strengthen our relationship with God.
          My story was just meant to show how God leaves a trail of “cookie crumbs” to keep us searching and believing. One thing that came out of my journey with my mother is being able to be there for people in nursing homes or people when they are dying. I used to not be able to handle even funerals. I did not do suffering well, mine or other peoples’. My granddaughter has taught me about love without expectations.

  3. There is so much wisdom in this.
    Alison

    • Thank you. Some of it, I have actually managed to integrate into my way of being in the world.
      Still working on the rest…..but don’t expect to ever get perfect…..I figure if anyone made it to perfect they would ascend. Whoosh! I check
      the sky regularly and haven’t seen any feet yet.

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