As Easter approaches and Spring continues to bloom all over our beautiful county, my heart and eyes behold the hope of this season; the hope of life.
A favorite song of mine growing up had the line “Death died a long time ago” – it’s meaning is rooted in the Christian faith but I think the words ring true for all of us who have hope beyond this world of seeing our loved ones again.
From the song’s perspective, death is a temporary divide. In the Easter story, the true grim finality of death is erased when Jesus is raised from the dead. With his return to life, death looses it’s permanence. The hopeless finality of what death was prior to Jesus is killed and replaced with a promise of life after death.
In this same way, death doesn’t end a connection. To use an idea from the field of thanatology, there are “continuing bonds” that many bereaved people experience with their loved one in all kinds of ways. It may be in seeing a hummingbird, hearing a certain song, speaking out loud to them when you want to talk, or enjoying a favorite cocktail. These are all ways of enjoying their presence, of remembering and communing with them. We can maintain our connection in so many ways and the experts are saying that practices like these are good and healthy for grieving people.
But this doesn’t erase our pain. We still feel alone. We want them here NOW and HERE with us, somewhere and sometime are not good enough. The time we have stretching out in front of us without them feels like an eternity in itself. There aren’t enough Spring days or enough church services to change our grief into something it’s not.
So let’s not pretend. Let us grieve and hope. Let us mourn the now and look forward to the reunion. Let us not ever make life “one or the other,” looking ahead or looking back, we are always doing both. Life isn’t only sad or happy, we know better. It’s a big grey mess that we’ve never been through before, so how could we have all the answers?
Albert Einstein said, “Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.” Look deep. Nature has it’s cycles, seasons and generations just like humans. And also like humans, nature is not quick to heal. Everything in nature takes time, patience, there is waiting and tending, worrying and sometimes hopelessness that it might ever go back to the way it was.
But look into Nature, look deep and see what it has for you.
What do you think life after death looks like …