I had not known him well. We had only seen each other in passing, and I knew his photo and jersey number from working in yearbook for four years of my college career. People much younger than me knew him better, and through the memorial statuses they posted I began to know him. After he was gone I finally began to know him through the eyes of the hurting and broken. Those he left behind.
Death is always awkward. Painfully awkward.
It felt so strange to scroll through Facebook. Every other status was a solemn memory of the now passed away young man I had once gone to school with, all the other statuses were selfish anomalies explaining information relevant to the life of someone outside my group of friends that were touched by the sudden tragedy of his death. It was so unusual. How close this death was to me was painful. How far it was from everyone else, was also painful.
Tragedy doesn’t always touch everyone. I had to keep reminding myself that. College was a life I had on my own away from here. With people my friends here might never meet. When tragedy struck my college I would be here, isolated in my mourning, while thankfully, those who may not be able to cope well alone were there together. Near one another. Helping and loving each other through it. I was glad they had each other. I was glad that I had gone to such a closely knit school where people could differ in theology, but love one another despite the differences. The wonderful thing about people, is even when we are all different, we all know pain, and I have seen mutual pain bring enemies together.
But that doesn’t answer the whys that come with death. It doesn’t explain the mysteries that bring heartache. We can cope with pain if there is reason, but we cannot cope well with senselessness. To be truthful death is always senseless. It is a means of taking away. A means of pain and suffering for those left behind. Death can make us selfish too. I venture to guess that is the point. To hurt. To rip and tear. To naw at our flesh, and our souls, and weaken our spirits. It is there to cause us fear.
“The Lord is with the broken hearted, and those crushed in spirit.”
My mother had alway taught me that death was a part of life. For many years I had settled on this until I began to ask questions about it. Coming from a Christian worldview, I realized that death was not a part of life. Death was it’s own anomaly. It existed as a end. A termination. Death was very much an abnormality in the existence of life. It was the opposite of life. And though it was inevitable, it was not what was intended. It was a tragic mess. Painful. Fearful. Cutting and gory. It was the destruction of a body. It’s purpose is to make life seem weak. God did not want death to exist. I finally realized something I had grappled with what seems like forever….that God did not create death.
After attending a Christian school, I began to understand more about the theology of death. Realizing that death was not something God deemed good, because only in the creation of the world and the existence of those things living did God call “good” and “very good.” Death was a work of evil in the world. One that God took and gave a silver lining.
I am amazed by the complexity of God. He let’s death happen, but then turns it on its head as well, offering us an afterlife with Himself, if we choose to accept the truth behind that offering of the afterlife. He doesn’t let evil win, in the end, but quietly and humbly overpowers death with eternal life. But He also doesn’t force us to live loving Him either, but offers us the ability to choose to live His way. To choose life with Him. To choose overcoming death.
Sorry. Didn’t mean to get preachy on you. I am just in such awe thinking about it. There is nothing more beautiful to my knowledge, than going back to the one who knows every intimate piece of your body, mind and soul, and can love you through all that mess. The ultimate Creator loving us enough, to let us choose our fate, while also offering us the ultimate good. Painless, freedom to love forever….to be with Him.
If I were God, I would have been much more selfish than that. I suppose that is why I am not God.
That is what I enjoyed the most about going through those Facebook statuses. There was sadness, but also hope. Hope in seeing their beloved friend….a brother in Christ….again in a life beyond here. In a place where we can only know love. For now, we merely tolerate the existence of death, knowing that it is not the end. It is only the beginning of God’s defeat of evil.
What is even more amazing to me is that this life is as close to Heaven as some people get, and as close to Hell as others get.
“Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?”
1Corinthians 15: 55