I feel like we want to be happy about everything, that we often feel the need to see a silver lining. Everywhere. And maybe there is one, maybe when I say, “we” I am unfairly stereotyping the entire human race.
But let’s pretend that there isn’t and that I’m not.
I lost a friend last week. Granted, we were best friends in fifth grade, became less close as time went on, each of us switched schools. What I feel doesn’t hold a candle to what is felt by those who lost someone who was an active part of their lives. I’d take a look at her facebook a handful of times over a period of years. When I think of Star Wars I remember when we waited hours outside of the theater with her stepdad, that he had to call my parents (on a landline) to get my movie-theater-grounding suspended. I remember how brave she was, her unmistakable laugh, how easy it was to trust her.
And now she is gone from here. We have lost. Now, I don’t imagine I’m saying anything new. You hear it all the time: “We’ve lost, heaven gained an angel.”
As an aside, let us remember that everyone doesn’t die and go to heaven, that there is eternal life and there is the opposite of that, that a pretense of sunshine and rainbows doesn’t create it in reality. The fact that we need to die at all is actually quite profound, an incredibly obvious display of our humanity. And I don’t mean that in the good sense of the word. Actually, forget an aside, this is exactly what I want to talk about-
Death is abhorrent. There is no silver lining to it. There is nothing good about the fact that we have to die. There is nothing truly beautiful about any kind of death, even that of a flower. In the beginning, before the fall of man, there was no death.. So we have to ponder this unnatural situation that is our primary existence: we have to cope with the most horrible thing on the planet that absolutely nothing can escape: death. And pretending that it’s beautiful, that someone now has wings, is supposed to make it better.
That’s a waste. And a lie. Why would Christ have conquered death if it was good, if it was natural? Death isn’t natural, life is. Life was first. Life will be last. Death is talked about like it’s somehow simultaneously good and bad. We admit that we are allowed to cry, but then we say that it will be okay. Okay? What if I say that I’ll hate it until the day that I die, that I will never get over Alex being gone, my cousin Jack, my grandparents, and the list goes on? I will hate it because death is a hateful thing.
But I’m not hopeless. I just think that hope and naivety aren’t best friends. I believe in understanding the gravity of death without fearing it. Because while it wins battles every day here, it really won’t win the war. That’s a future that can be foreseen, if we believe what’s been told to us. So the point to me isn’t so much whether or not the individual who we lost is bearing white wings or none beyond those pearly gates, but that there will be a day when this miserable experience we’re stuck living with here will literally no longer exist.
And the point is that WE are still here, that we still have responsibilities to spread the Gospel which saves our family and friends which fill that kingdom I spoke of, and even our enemies, that if He wills it, they will come. Death should remind us, not of this life, but of the importance of seeking the next. Because one day you will be gone from here. And the only hope there is lies in the coming world that doesn’t fade.
Alex, this one’s for you.