Friday, March 29, 2013

It has been a long winter. The cold, the snow storms and the icy roads of these Canadian Prairies cause cancellations and reduced social activity. Just the way I like it. Because of grief related depression, I have wanted to remain cocooned in my warm and silent house, my books and Internet games being my escape, my distraction, my time wasting method when I can't bear to face the grimness of reality.

I find outings difficult. Emotionally vulnerable, I dread facing familiar people, knowing they might ask that awful question, "how are you?", and I may have to lie or offer at best a half-truth: "I'm okay" (silently adding, "sometimes"). Or, "I'm still standing" with a chuckle, as if I'm joking, but really it's an achievement for me to still be standing after what I've been hit with.

So the coming of spring has filled me with dread. I will be confronted by the world more and more.

Among my people, the days just before Easter are a time for self-examination and reflection, a sober contemplation of the sad and spectacular story of Easter. The evening before Good Friday our church holds a communion service in memory of this God-with-us man, Jesus.

This year I have had a difficult time deciding whether I should go. All those people, whom I do care about and who I know care about me. All that eye contact, and me not emotionally strong enough to face casual social niceties. Not to mention the brain fog that has left me sometimes unable to follow the meaning of sentences, or to care about conversations. Although I think of this occasional diminished mental capacity as good training for that rapidly approaching old age.

But in spite of my current spiritual confusion, my social reluctance, my hermitic preferences, it seems that this Jesus in his own words asked us to meet together as a group in memory of his love, his life, his death. So, out of love and obedience, I go.

I stop by the grocery store in our small town and pick up a few groceries in preparation for the family meals Easter weekend, so that I arrive at church a minute after start time. No one I need to chat with, just a couple of quick words and one liner humourous comments with the easy going greeters.

I slip into a back pew beside my husband who arrived earlier. It doesn't take long before the hymn brings tears to my eyes, and that's okay. I trust everyone here enough that I'm okay with them seeing my teary or red eyes. So I go through a couple of kleenexes as the message and music bring to mind the sorrow and pathos surrounding the end of life. When the message begins, the speaker cannot stay in the death moments for even a sentence, needing to turn quickly to the relief of the coming resurrection. No, I think, stay; let's spend more time with Jesus in his horror, his fear, his pain.

Think about the God-man's deliberate and fully-aware approach to Jerusalem, the time and place of his doom, however wonderfully justified his sacrificial death will turn out to be.Think about his betrayal by friends, bad enough, but then his mental anguish as he prays for strength to keep going, knowing what is to come. Think about his extreme physical and emotional pain, combined with his abandonment by God. And the last tragic gasp for breath, with an instinctive fear of suffocation.

Now, let's contemplate how God as man CHOSE to go through this, any stage of which all of us would probably do everything within our (not at all almighty) power to avoid.

The fact that God chooses to take part in the experience of human suffering is powerful to me this year. God's life as a human did not have a happy ending. This can be a comfort to me when I cringe every time someone tells a "God is good because this good thing happened to me" story. I feel a human sorrow for the pain and dying of a human Christ. It makes more real the common horrified sorrow we each feel at the dying of a loved one. It helps that Christ knows what its like. It connects us with Christ.

I hear the good news of the resurrection, and I can rest to a certain degree in the hope of the promise to dry all tears in some mystical future existence, which we really cannot know much about. And that's okay. But I can identify with Jesus (identify with God?!) because we share the human knowledge of the horror that we all, and all that we love, must die, and thereby I find a connection to God in the sometimes sad and difficult here and now.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Two nights ago I dreamt you were a boy again
and showed to me a wound was on your foot.
We both bent down,
I doctored it, your small pain.
We saw that it would heal.
It may be in dreams you come to me as child
because I cannot face
the whole loss of you, the loss of whole you.

I go for walks alone
remembering your nearness in the dream
and weep in snow.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Encircled by a stand of many trees I stand.
I face the winter sun between the lines on either hand.
On either side stream shadow lines of blue upon the snow;
Behind, ahead the lines flow from me far as sight will go.
I face the sun-- the way ahead is bright, the lines are clear;
I turn my back-- my shadow leans with all the lines away from here
and into darkness, trunks and snow and shadow there.
Two paths to choose: ahead or back. Snow does not really care.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

I fear the fragility of feeble creature memory
Doubt my own ability to hold what has been given me
Where go past days tragically when gone is all I used to be
Who can keep with surety the ones forgotten sadly.

I may yet let my mind go off in care-not cartwheels
To leave hold let go boldly surrender to unknow
Isn't giving up like giving in to end is like begin again
To sink into infinity, the full face of divinity.