Friday, April 24, 2009

Death and Anger

I know there are phases of grief and anger is one of them.

My son has just entered that stage. Frank didn't want a funeral but agreed that we could have a memorial ceremony for his passing when the family gathered together in the summer. He wanted to spare his family the grieving process
, but it hasn't really provided my son with closure.

This week Adam received his dad's 401K. As he held the check in his hand, it became real. His dad was gone. With the check came a sudden anger that Adam couldn't explain. Things like taking the trash to the curb became the topic for an argument. All I know to do is stay clear of him for a time.

I know this will pass and soon acceptance will come. It is a long, long road.

Sunday, April 12, 2009


Could a story more compelling ever be written? The contrast from Good Friday to Easter Morning is the most amazing of all time. As a writer, I think about all that goes into the telling of the Easter story (complete with the Hallelujah Chorus from Handel's Messiah playing in my brain) and I want to turn my computer off and call it a night. I will never write anything more gripping, more brilliant.

Truth is more amazing than fiction.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

The Silent Day

A professor of a New Testament Survey always gave the same final exam essay question: List the events that occurred from Palm Sunday to Easter Sunday. It was a hard question, but each Easter I reflect on what I learned. There was a good bit written about what happened during that week, except the day after Christ died. That seems to me to be the silent day.

A death is a sad thing for those left behind, but if you shared a vision with the deceased--dreams, plans--it is harder still. I think about a parent losing a child. The parent expected to see that child graduate from school, marry, and have a family of his/her own. When the child dies, the parent knows he will never see any of that, never hold a grandchild in his/her arms. A child has died and dreams have died.

The same is true when losing a spouse. When my ex. husband died a few weeks ago, I thought about all the things we planned. We were going to grow old together, be grandparents together. We divorced and dreams died. In the back of my mind I played with the idea that, by some miracle, we might someday reconcile. When he died that silly dream is also died.

The followers of Jesus had dreams, plans, too. The mother of James and John planned that her sons would rule alongside Jesus. Isn't that just like a mother? Simon thought he was a part of a revolution. Peter had only a glimmer of insight and still denied knowing his master. All of the followers had some kind of dream. They mourned the loss of their Rabbi, but they also mourned losing a dream.

Not much is written about that time that the followers hid and mourned, just before the resurrection. Maybe it was all too painful to write about. I kind of think this is an example of an occasion when silence speaks volumes.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Calm before a storm

I am sitting at home, waiting to go to work. Clouds are gathering. We are under a tornado watch. This is the calm before what might be an impressive storm.

It's also Good Friday. I am reflective. There was a calm before that storm, too. Everyone gathered on what we now call Maundy Thursday in the home of John Mark's mother (so many scholars believe) to have a Passover meal. Sure, the disciples felt a storm brewing. Jesus had chased out money changers and alienated many religious leaders, people who had found a place in the Roman society.

--But this moment seemed calm. Then Jesus made his predictions, one would deny him and one would betray him. He told Judas to do what he must do. The storm had begun.

I sit at home waiting to go to work and wonder if this storm will pass us by and I meditate on the storm which we now call Good Friday.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Two Types of People

As many of you know, my ex-husband, Adam's dad, died from lung and liver cancer. We both spent time with him during his last two months of life. Naturally, these trips were filled with emotions, but one thing really struck me. My ex. sure had a lot of devoted friends in Murfreesboro. He was not connected to any church. All his friends were people he once worked with. They all kept in touch with each other, even after many were laid-off.

That got me to thinking about my own lay-off. Once I and other teachers were laid-off, it ended our relationships. I was so disappointed that fellow teachers no longer returned my calls--or even e-mails. After all, it was a Christian school. I hoped that maybe I had built relationships with the staff, but time told the true story.

How had Frank managed to keep up a relationship with his co-workers? I have a theory. Some people work on assembly lines while others work in cubicles. People who are separated by walls or particians just don't develop the same kinds of relationships as those who struggle, side by side, to achieve a goal.

I have worked at many schools and have worked at several restaurants and can tell you that I forged much closer relationships with restaurant workers than with teachers. We had to work together to feed a crowd at a restaurant, but were isolated in a classroom when it came to teaching.

I'm not saying that there aren't people who care for me. When I went through my own battle with cancer many people showed me great kindness. I had my family, friends from church, and even co-workers. At the time, I worked at a library--no walls.

It is sad to think that many of us, without knowing it, have chosen careers where we will spend 8 hours a day in a sort of isolation. We will sit through meaningless "team building" staff meetings but will never really act like a team.

I guess it is important to seek friendship, a support system, elsewhere. No one should have to face life alone.