Tuesday, March 11, 2014

The Interim Words of Death

I am a Christian.  I do not believe that death has the final hold on us.  I don't believe that death is the final answer or that death has the last word.

But lately I've been in an Ash Wednesday frame of mind.   I'd have been in an Ash Wednesday space even if we weren't at that part of the liturgical year.  I've had news of the death of my favorite undergraduate English professor, a colleague with pancreatic cancer, my best friend from high school with esophageal cancer, and my Hindu writer friend who is in the last stage of kidney failure.

I am feeling frail and mortal and afraid.  I am afraid to admit my fear, for fear that I will seem a bad Christian.

I remind myself that even Jesus was afraid.  It's OK to be afraid.

After all, I'm not afraid of death.  If I fell over dead in a field while I was out on a run, that would be OK with me.  I've lived a good life, and while I still want to do some things, I'm pleased with my life so far.

No, I'm afraid of the pain that so often comes with death.  I'm afraid of hospitals and doctors.  I'm afraid of causing pain to those who love me and have to watch those degradations that happen to my body should I die trapped in the medical-industrial complex.

I am not afraid of death, but I've been assuming we'd die when we're old and in a declining state.  I've been thinking death would be a relief.

But lately, I've been seeing death as a robber and a thief.

Death may not have the final word, but death certainly gets to have a lot of words in the interim.  Our task is to silence that blabber as much as we can.  Our task is to keep our eyes and ears on the alternate reality that the voices of death try to cover.


Marissa said...

Fantastic and honest.

Wendy said...

My heart grieves with you.

Kristin said...

Thanks, Wendy and Marissa, for reading and for caring.