Dad died and the concept, “This world is not my home”, started growing exponentially. The difficulty I’ve been running into is talking about eternity without disregarding our ongoing human experience.
Human suffering matters. This includes missed opportunities. Things we wish we were. I wish I was a fabulous musician. And athlete. And I wish I could look at my wardrobe and know which clothes I should just toss out. We have eternity to grow our many facets. I’ll have a better wardrobe. We are not allowed to grow so many of these facets in this world and that’s important, but it matters that we have grown the ones we have, the ones we have fought for. It matters that we have dug in the dirt and been soiled by traumas too horrible to speak of. It matters when we summit and when we slide.
Jesus came to the globe, gestating in womb, walked Jerusalem and Samaria, 100% human, not living as God even though He never stopped being God. He gets us. He gets the trauma and the great sensation of realizing hard earned hopes and what comes after that. And then He wove our human conscious awareness into an awakening of our eternal selves.
We are more than this. “I see you. You’ve got a lot coming.” There is movement in this. There is an exercise of presence, along with the exercise of growth and hope and future.
There is nothing lonelier than a summit without a sense of going on and toward. Listen to Freddie Mercury,
“You can have everything in the world and still be the loneliest man. And that is the most bitter type of loneliness.” “Success has brought me world idolization and millions of pounds. But it’s prevented me from having the one thing we all need – a loving.”
A summit without connection is isolation. There is no movement. So how do we talk about this hope and future without dismissing our now? I remember my brother on his unspeakable pain of no longer living with his children, when I opened my big mouth and said something like, “I’m so glad we have a forever. A space without edges when we will not be separated. When we get to do all the things we weren’t allowed to do in this life.” And he turned to me and said, without aggression but rather immense sadness, “This feels like a threat.”
My brother was responding from humanity and I was moving right past it into a place of disconnected unrealized otherness. And whizzing past someone, like the Road Runner, can be catastrophic to them. I suppose he felt like I was dismissing his current, ongoing place in the world and indeed. That was threatening.
I see my dad watching football in the electric recliner. The Sunday paper is in his hands. He’s making unconscious glottal noises that sound like something cooking on the stove. Mom is thrumming through the house like a lawnmower, always moving. Always working. Always serving. I see my dad in the garden picking white sapote. “Get me that one over there, Sana. See. It’s still good.” And the sapote dissolves in my mouth as sweetly and as fast as this memory does. Dad has persimmons in his pockets and I’m trundling beside him, chattering and heard. He heard me.
And I know I will see Dad again and not be separated and that matters too. Prepping for his 82nd birthday party when his friends would come one more time to our home, Dad tells me to sing, “that song,” for his funeral. “The only Thing I want is to be with Jesus. Just to see him smile and say, ‘Well done.’” And my attention shifted from Dad here with me to Dad apart for a time, asleep in the care of Jesus. We will greet Him together and there will be no more tears and no more saying goodby.
I never got to sing that for his funeral and I guess this is sort of an apology too. It was the worst. All I did was blubber!
Frank tells me about his son dying 10 years ago. I asked him how to avoid inking like this, marking up one experience by talking about another. He says to ask more relational questions about his son. Get the survivor to focus on the things that they should be focusing on. I like that. It’s going toward the pain rather than away from it. So can we go toward the pain while describing our future? Frank recalls when his son died he had a pair of gloves in his briefcase he had intended to give to a lady who sold papers on the street and had cold hands all the time. “He was me but so much better in so many areas.”
Rev. 21 Verses 1 to 4
He will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself will be with them; he will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning nor crying nor pain any more, for the former things have passed away.
Dad died three years ago, Good Friday. The earth has not felt the same under my feet since then and I’m glad of it. Because it is one more way that speaks, “You matter.” And I’m am able to gain movement into the weaving of our future.
Self Care Tip: Find a way to integrate our future beyond this life with the significance and value of our present experiences and relationships. You matter!
Question: How do you bring your present suffering along with hope? Speak.