10 May 2010

Weddings and Funerals; Life and Death

How is it that something written so many hundreds (okay, thousands) of years ago can say it best of all... (Ecclesiastes, chapter 3)

There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under heaven:
a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain,
a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.

And so it is as I read this, that I am reminded that everything is indeed beyond my control and everything has its place in time.

Though I try and tear down walls and mend fences and stop wars, I cannot do all of these things. Though I try desperately to only love and only heal and only grow, I cannot do and feel and be without doing and feeling and being all of the rest.

There are some of these though, that are more difficult to feel.

It is difficult to hate.

I remember after Grace died, literally, hating, absolutely hating babies.

And the first time I saw one and the thought crossed my mind, "I hate you," I was horrified. How can a person hate a baby? It was probably one of the lowest, darkest moments of my life.

It is difficult to be uprooted.

I was uprooted this week. Upended. And there was not a damn thing I could do about it. Out of my control again. I am waiting to be planted. I am waiting again to bloom. I am waiting to sprout.

But in the meantime, I am tearing down; I am scattering stones; I am searching; I am silent; I am mourning that which can never be.

There is a time, indeed, for weddings and funerals, for life and death, for love and war. And it is good to be reminded of these things. Even those of us with the best intentions and the best hope, can feel despondent.

I no longer hate babies. I get pleasure out of holding them. Though if you had told me I would find pleasure in babies nearly seven years ago, I might have torn out your eyes. Rage, envy, lust was at the heart of all of my emotions then. Feelings foreign to me. Feelings that made me uncertain of where to turn, who to trust, where to go.

And I see that look now in the eyes of a newly bereaved parent. It doesn't take much to remember, to go back, to sit with them. It is in this time and in this season where I am most fully alive, where I am blessed. There is nothing more sacred and holy than being in communion with a parent who has just lost a child. To sit. To watch. To wonder.

I am blessed indeed. Even in times of absolute despondency and hopelessness, hope prevails.

It is in these seasons of life that I most recall the seasons of death.

And in these moments, I am alive. I am alive. I am alive.


Sara said...

And sometimes the times converge, we weep as we laugh, we mourn and dance at the same time. And both feelings can be intense, each holding its own. That's the part I've been working with over the past year.

Timberview said...

I"m (finally) reading Jerry Sittser's about Grace (suddenly the title completely eludes me). In it he talks about how pain is a sign that we are alive. Only dead people don't feel pain. Even walking, talking, dead people.

I'm praying for you! And in the meantime, as always, appreciate your ponderings!