Thursday, April 7, 2011
Sometimes I feel schizophrenic. On the one hand, I'm daily in the practice of merely dealing with the emergent in my little cosmos here. Eh...that scraped knee isn't so bad. Heck those hives can be taken care of with a couple of days of Benadryl. And the list drones on. Everyday hundreds of little situations are passing through my filter and I have to learn to deal with that overload and not get too emotionally worked up about every single circumstance. This is motherhood. How tough can I be? But with that state of being can also come the ability to shut out everything that is scary and emotional-to become calloused, for fear of being overcome.
A few months ago we watched a documentary on 9-11 titled, 9/11. To be honest, I put off watching it for days because I knew I couldn't handle it. I just knew it. This documentary was done by mere amateurs, Jules and Gedeon Naudet (brothers), who were trying to make a documentary on a rookie fireman in New York City. They happened to be filming that fateful day and were the only ones who were inside the Twin Towers getting raw footage. And that's what it was-raw footage. It hurt-bad and I have no connection with that horrific event. I simply am an American and I'm human. As I watched, it disturbed my soul to hear bodies literally dropping and hitting the ground from 80 floors up. Bang! Bang! It was almost too much for me to bear. Bang! When we finally did watch it, I snuggled close to Steve and braced myself to deal with the reality of this horrific event in our history. For I can't simply hide from all that is real. These stories are there and must told. They also must be heard. And when I do hear these stories, it's inevitable...I am human, so I will be overcome.
Today I ran across a blog written by a mother who just recently lost her firstborn due to meningitis brought on by the common flu. Her Dad is our dentist and my sister-in-law's family is friends of their family from church. I've never met this mother. I've only heard about her from her Dad as he would update me on his many children and grandchildren while cleaning my teeth. But her daughter who passed away is the same age as Isaac. And I've often thought about her. How she must be reeling. How she must still be in shock. How missing her daughter must make it hard to breathe-to live. I've avoided the dentist even though we're due for a simple cleaning because I don't know what to say. I don't want to say empty words. But if I do more than that, I'll be overcome.
I feel like despair is all around sometimes. Japan, Haiti, Lebanon, the global economic crisis, cancer, hunger...fill in the blank. Life poses much difficulty and there is always sorrow. Yet, if I allow myself to be swallowed up by such sorrow then I succumb to defeat. But if I don't allow myself to imagine the pain, to take on others' burdens, to be overcome by sorrow at times for others or for myself even, then I'm denying the beauty that God brings amidst death and suffering.
Literal schizophrenia. How do I delineate the emotions?
Recently our pastor gave a sermon on how death opens the way for life. "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit." John 12:24 He preached hope to all of us fallen that death is not the end. I repeat-death is NOT the end. Death brings life. And in that there is hope. This hope breathes life and is the catalyst for all that we believe.
" 'Death is swallowed up in victory.' O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?" 1 Corinthians 15:55
This reminds me of Christ. In a few weeks we will celebrate Easter which, in my opinion, is the most important holiday on the church calendar. Christ was overcome. But His death was the single, most victorious event in all of human history. It's a story begging to be told. It's a story that must be heard. When I put myself into that story and share in all that The Passion entails, I am overcome. Overcome by the emotions, the sorrow, the utter difficulties and the shame. But when I allow myself to feel, to really feel those emotions, I get to better understand the triumph, the victory-the hope.
Endings produce new beginnings.
Death brings new life.
Sin has been overcome by Christ on the cross and there is freedom from the despair that encircles us.
I don't have to face it alone. I must be real and I must allow myself to face despair. But I don't have to be afraid that the despair will consume me. For Christ has already defeated it.
It's a new beginning.
And instead I can be overcome by hope. Not a hope that is conjured up inside of me for I am ephemeral--a mere mist, and have a well that will run dry. But hope that is found in the heart of Christ and his victory. Loving others involves risk. Mothering requires being tough and tender. I'm thankful for Christ. His life, his death, simply who He is, give me hope to face all the sorrow and joy around.
If I am overcome by Christ then I can wade through this life with my eyes heavenward.
"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead..." 1 Peter 1:3