Total Pageviews

19 November 2010

Walking in the dead of night ...

As I am grieving the death of my mother, I receive many cards and phone calls; for the most part, these signs of friendship have been very comforting. However, some of these gestures fail to comfort, and some are outright annoying; they come from friends who are trying to tell me how to grieve. It could be that these friends just feel awkward and don't know what else to say, but I suspect it may also be a way of warding off their own fears and pains.

I have no map for my grief, and I don't need one; I intend to honor whatever it is I feel in any given moment. The other day I came across a story Walter Wink tells of a Native American woman who was about to go on her lonely walk home in the dead of the night. Her host had asked whether she wanted company on her walk. Her kind but firm reply had been: "No, thank you. I won't be afraid. We have songs for this."  It struck me that this is what I need to tell those friends who try to be "helpful" by prescribing steps for my grief: "No, thank you. I won't be afraid. We have songs for this."

The Epistle for this Christ the King Sunday, from Colossians Chapter 1, quotes from an old hymn already in use in Christian worship when the letter to the Colossians was written; here is Eugene Peterson's elegant paraphrase in "The Message". 

"We look at this Son and see the God who cannot be seen. We look at this Son and see God's original purpose in everything created. For everything, absolutely everything, above and below, visible and invisible, rank after rank after rank of angels—everything got started in him and finds its purpose in him. He was there before any of it came into existence and holds it all together right up to this moment. 

Salvador Dali: The Vision of St. John of the Cros

He was supreme in the beginning and—leading the resurrection parade—he is supreme in the end. From beginning to end he's there, towering far above everything, everyone. So spacious is he, so roomy, that everything of God finds its proper place in him without crowding. Not only that, but all the broken and dislocated pieces of the universe—people and things, animals and atoms—get properly fixed and fit together in vibrant harmonies."

For the next couple of weeks and months I intend to keep these words close by; there is such ease in them, such utter confidence, such rest, such peace, such strength, such wholeness, yes: such love. "All the broken and dislocated pieces of the universe get properly fixed and fit together in vibrant harmonies."

No, thank you; I won't be afraid; we have songs for this!

Colossians 1:15-20

No comments:

Post a Comment