Saturday, April 16, 2011

Easter Sinking In (or Rising Up)

In the week or so after Josh died, I read a lot about Christian views on suicide over the past two millenia.  (Why not?  It wasn't as if sleep were an option.)

In the course of the next couple of years, I realized that, even today, we are some of the "lucky" ones.  I would hear stories, current stories, of families refused church funerals, of funeral services botched.  We, on the other hand, have never been on the receiving end of anything other than sympathy and reassurance, eloquence and encouragement,  from ministers, rabbis, and priests and, on the part of Christian clergy, confidence in resurrection.

"While we are crushed," preached our pastor in his funeral sermon, "Josh has now risen up.  While we are now in the dark, Josh is now in the light.  While we are pressed down in horror, Josh is living the mystery."

The other night, in the college Intro to Religion course which I teach, we were talking about holding differing personal viewpoints in the context of the church.  One young man mentioned that one of his friends believes that anyone who commits suicide (his verb, not mine) goes straight to hell, but he doesn't share that belief.

I don't bring my personal life into the classroom, at least not in that regard, but his comment did register.  A year ago, I might have turned pale and ended the class without explanation.  

This year, I just thought: What a small, and sad, understanding of God his friend has.

It's been a battleground for me, but I'm grateful to be in possession of a genuine, albeit hard-won, Easter faith.


  1. What a gift to yourself to be able to hold what was said and see it from a much different perspective than a year ago.

  2. What a difference just one year can make. I'm so grateful that your faith is expansive and generous. Unconditional love seems to be the only thing large enough to cover all of our needs in this life.

  3. What a gift, indeed.

    There is a most mysterious energy around this kind of thing. I hesitate to even call it a "process." Where we go from one perspective, sure this will never change, to something wholly different.

    How that happens constitutes, for me, a miracle.

  4. It is a miracle, the changes of a year. From feeling that you can't even breathe, or know how to go forward, to actually doing it anyway, is a pretty big deal. Miraculous. Amazing. All of those words will do, but don't even begin to describe all that goes into "going on". Easter faith/ resurrection power. Our eyes have seen it now.

  5. It is grace, yes, to go from being unable to breathe to faith and hope.

    And it is, I suppose, a continuing spiral, and not a straight line.

    But I'm willing to accept the quiet certitude of today for what it is.

  6. It is in these moments of awareness, quiet certitude, that I think I get a glimpse of what it must have been like for one of the lepers.