Through experience, death comes in more than one manner. It can be an enemy, shortening life. It can come as a friend, an act of deliverance. In any case, I’ve seen both today.
The bomber bombed himself in Austin. Terror-striking many of us, because of the unpredictability. In my neighborhood circular, some commented about packages they didn’t order on their porch. It heightens alertness; even more, fear and dread. It ended yesterday when the bomber was identified, tried to escape in a car and blew himself up. There is relief. Even more, though, there is such a constant acting of self-contempt that knows no boundaries and beliefs, with fuller belief that to take others down is the best self-elevating step. Not for a breath, but whoever knows when the neighbor is really the enemy?
Another death, though, I need to share. I’ve mentioned many times how much I respect and love Joanne Carlson Brown, my Methodist clergy buddy in Seattle. She and Christie were married; it was such a glorious wedding with their District Superintendent marrying them. Yeah for the Methodists on this one!
I also shared the terrible struggle for Christie, battling a brain tumor. It was SO DIFFICULT on her, but no less on Joanne. Day after day, hour after hour, sleepless night after the same. Yesterday Joanne shared that Christie died at 7:45 a.m., quietly in her sleep.
My sense of it is her death was deliverance, setting her free from the travailing handicap of fighting the pain and the uncertainty. She is free. Joanne, no less, who loved the fullest love, knows her spouse is at peace. My sense of this, how it can have value, comes from the Apostle Paul, “Whether we live or whether we die, we belong to the Lord.”
Joanne? I love you and will support you in any way I can. No less, hundreds and hundreds gather, your parishioners at Tibbett’s United Methodist Church in West Seattle, your colleagues and your friends, yes perhaps especially those who join you in supporting Pittsburg teams! Be good to you and know our caring spirit and loving presence is non-negotiable! Shalom.
With that yesterday had the joy of Jason being moved from Cornerstone Hospital to Austin Neuro, a very highly regarded rehab center. This will be Jason’s final step. He’s now eating, walking with a walker, talking and seeing that being home with us is a worthy goal. His three sons rejoice in this option. In any case, for Jason [and Diane who is the greatest mother in the world] this is a day of deliverance…a great step forward. And for our grandsons, I better make sure their fishing rods are working. You think?
And then…another joy in scheduling a visit to Tucson, as I mentioned in yesterday’s blog, to be with my dear, dear friends Hugh and Jane Smith…and to visit with Jessica Cox and her father, to take notes on what it means to be a parent to an armless child.
Life. It happens. And hopefully, we live more by hope than fear, more by faith than anything else. And. Each day when I drive home I nod to the sign on our front door. It was there for Advent and Epiphany, but continues there for Jason and the Healing Presence of God: BELIEVE