Easter. Resurrection weekend. It’s hard to absorb the magnificent power of Christ rising from the grave.
When people die, your people, my people, they are … well… dead.
And dead, my friends, is forever.
I went to Good Friday service this year because I’m finding comfort in the death part. I find comfort knowing Jesus doubted, just like you and me, and can tangibly connect to the excruciating circumstances present for those left behind on the hill that day standing in the dark shadows of the cross. I relate to the onlookers to suffering, those wiping their tears from a distance. I liked sitting in those creaky, auditorium-church seats and feeling connected with the very human problem of the chaos, confusion, and uncertainty coming from death.
I couldn’t go to Sunday service. Not this year. The resurrection – its very nuts and bolts – feel too far away and out of reach. Dead people stay dead right?
I’ve been reading Rob Bell’s book What We Talk About When We Talk About God. His thoughts on human’s beautiful attempts to use of language, science, facts, faith and reasoning to grapple with the mysteries of an old story full of spiritual truth is really making me think. Perhaps, Rob suggests, the way we try to explain a living, vibrant, breathing, present God is a bit outdated.
“Mhmm”, I nodded along. “Mhmm”.
Rob walks readers through a series of six words and evokes critical thinking and a willingness to suspend the need to know. I got caught up in his “Both” chapter.
Perhaps both science and religion can co-exist. Perhaps God lives in both suffering and joy. Perhaps we can know all kinds of cool, hard scientific facts and still not quite know what happens when atoms merge and collide in a fancy research center in Switzerland … er is it France? CERN. Google it.
Enlightening. Expansive. And a little unclear. Right?
I went to yoga on Tuesday night. Before class began, my teacher shared about her trip to Tennessee. In her storytelling she lowered her head and said nine simple words.
“Yeah,” she said, “I just really needed to see my dad.”
And right there on the mat, my heart sank.
She’s in her late 30’s and still needs her dad. I do too. But my dad died.
And where does that leave me?
I put my hands up to prayer pose, took a deep breath, and honored the hole in my heart still working on sealing.
I wish, my friends and readers, I could step away from this grief stuff.
Every week I keep saying to myself, just focus on the good things, the beautiful, the light. Perhaps people are getting sick of tuning in to my pain.
And I can’t.
Rob Bell also shares in his book on page 110:
“The question then,
the invitation is for you and me to become more and more the kind of people who are aware of the divine presence, attuned to the ruach, present to the depths of each and every moment, seeing God in more and more people, places and events, each and every day.”
Exactly what I’m trying to do here.
So yes, I’m sad. And I’m noticing. I’m doing both.
I see divine in the bowing sunflowers in a vase, in the red robins bouncing through my street, and the spray of freshly ground flour settling on my black countertops. Beauty in the questions and the words we use to grasp at answers. Beauty in intense emotion and in those willing to walk with me through, not out-of, this process.
Beauty in the lessons coming straight from my experience with pain, for God is creating a BOTH mindset in me.
In other news, I just launched my personal website. Check it out at www.katiehuey.com