Tuesday, March 20, 2012

1 Corinthians 15:55

Hi everyone.  I'm still around.  I've been busy, but from time to time I think about blogging.  Every once in awhile, I think a thought and it strikes me that it might be fun to blog about it.  Blogging is good for exploring an idea or two.  Either I haven't been very adventurous lately or my thoughts haven't been that interesting enough to keep me seated in front of my computer for a couple of hours.  Maybe both.  Ambivalence kills blogging.  And I'm turning 50 pretty soon.  I'm too old to be ambivilent--that's the luxury of the young and inexperienced.  Age and experience helps us find some certainty.  Just a little. 

Lately, I've been thinking about death.  About the loss of Mabel and Rawle, as well as friends who have lost loved ones.  It all came together in the last few weeks.  I know I'm getting older now, when death becomes a common event in my family circle and social network.  Or at least, some close calls. 

After some sadness for the last month, because I care about the families involved, I had a moment of peace while talking to God.  He reminded me that I didn't chose to come into this world, and I have little control how I would be leaving it.  And every moment in between, is a gift.  It felt like a shroud lifted from my heart and soul.  I felt alive.  I felt real. 

Most of the time, I'm thinking about the next thing.  How to get up and get ready for work.  Which way to go home.  Who to call and meet.  When and where to pray.  What I need to read by tonight. What I need to memorize this week.  How I am going to rest in the afternoon and stay off my feet until the heel heals.  What to eat, wear, cook and clean. Who is coming over. Food shopping.  What's going on in the world, what's going on next door.  How I am going to get my husband to get more fiber in his diet.  That he eat everything but the apple I put in our sack dinners tonight before ESL.  And that I found adult chewable fish oil pills at Target.  How did gasoline get so expensive so fast?  If I put on the AC in the car, does it affect the gas mileage? What about rolling down the window?  How is it that nearly all my undergrad international student friends are graduating this year?  They were just freshmen a minute ago!  Is this DVD worthwhile or a waste of time?  How movie reviews tell me very little about what I really need to know. Like, if I will be polluted by the ideas and images in that film.  Who is this young girl who keeps poking me on Facebook? And I need to paint the bathroom walls.

(No wonder I'm not blogging.)

So, the death of someone who I used to know (Mabel), or enjoyed frequently over the years as a regular customer (Rawle), or was the beloved wife of an old college friend (Monica) or was a close friend of a friend has a compounding affect on me since it was just a matter of days that I heard about their passing.  If all this had happened in the space of a few weeks or months, I would have been affected but not as much as this particular streak of news.  Because of it, I can't just tuck this reality away in between trips to Kroger's or the shifts I work at the store.  And the reality of this is, someday it will be my turn.  Anytime, anywhere. 

I'm thankful for the good news that it doesn't matter--that in Christ, I am safely kept in God's sweet lovingkindness and soveriegn goodness.  This has a focusing effect on me, to deeply love but also long for everyone to know this freedom in the Gospel.  The heartbreak isn't wasted on me.  The hope that springs from paying close attention to Scripture fills every breath I inhale. 

Are you ready, Thea?  I admit that I am not,  but I pray that I am getting ready. 

Where is my treasure?  It isn't in the trunk of my car, in my bank account, in the stockmarket, in my closet or in the basement.  It is eternal--like human souls and God's Word, it is a spiritual inheritance, and it is waiting for us in Him.  It is costly and precious--it was paid for by my Savior's blood. 

In the meantime, there is abundance.  I have feelings to feel, love to share, thoughts to think, words to say, connections to make, deeds to do and life to live.  Through this meager person, God could do something significant within and through her--nothing important as the world deems important, but what He is pleased by and displays His glory:  a smile, a hug, an encouraging word, an inside joke, a tear. 

Death, be not Proud (Holy Sonnet 10) 
               --John Donne

DEATH, be not proud, though some have called thee

Mighty and dreadfull, for, thou art not so,

For, those, whom thou think'st, thou dost overthrow,

Die not, poore death, nor yet canst thou kill me.

From rest and sleepe, which but thy pictures bee, 5

Much pleasure, then from thee, much more must flow,

And soonest our best men with thee doe goe,

Rest of their bones, and soules deliverie.

Thou art slave to Fate, Chance, kings, and desperate men,

And dost with poyson, warre, and sicknesse dwell,

And poppy, or charmes can make us sleepe as well,

And better then thy stroake; why swell'st thou then;

One short sleepe past, wee wake eternally,

And death shall be no more; death, thou shalt die.


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