It's always our self we find in the sea."
In my last post, I talked about a brush with death. It was an intense moment in my life, a scary moment, and very tragic for a friend of mine. And the only way I knew how to handle it was to write about it. But for all of Death brushing up against that moment, it was a moment. And I didn't want to to ignore the things that came after.
After, I watched a family come together. After, I saw love swell and fill an entire building. After, I witnessed the mad dash of selfless people hurrying to fill 25 tables with flowers, food, and friends. But for all those afters, there were two that opened a door in my mind.
During the funeral, my friend spoke about his parents with conviction, with tenderness, and with more laughter than I've ever heard during such a somber time. That laughter rolled like a wave through us. In the midst of it, a heavy peace descended. I've never, ever felt anything like it. And I knew that the way my friend felt about his parents and the way they felt about their son transcended this life--and would continue into another one.
The other "after" was just before the funeral. We stood in a very long line, waiting to offer our heartfelt condolences to the family. Letters and pictures of my friend's parents spilled over tables, celebrating lives well lived. We approached the flag-draped casket of his father and the warm, polished glow of his mother's, side by side as they had been in life. Death, the seeming finality of it, crowded my mind. I wondered where God was in moments like this, moments of stolen time and heartbreak.
And then God showed up.
Towheaded and spring-footed, my friend's toddler came into view. He giggled, running away from his mom and other grandma, darting between the legs of each supported coffin. His shirt had come untucked from his suit pants and there was no sign of his tiny jacket. I was struck by the sight of his wide grin as he crouched just beyond reach, just beneath the crisp colors of red, white, and blue. Surrounded by death was the glowing bloom of life.
And just like that, a smile was drawn out of me like a poison pulled free from my blood.
Loss stings. Loss aches. Loss rips through us. But God didn't just give us loss. Crouched beneath death is always life. Life grinning. Life joyful. Life full of tomorrow and promise. And I think in the end, life will last where death will pale. The last few weeks, I've tried to hold that moment in my head. I hope I never forget it.
I labored for today's quote:
For whatever we lose (like a you or a me), it's always our self we find in the sea.My own loss has swept me out to sea and I feel so adrift. I don't know if I'll find myself in the sea because I've wandered so far from shore or if I'll find myself in the sea because that's where I'm meant to meet myself. But whether the tide pulls me under or brings me safely into harbor, I'm clinging to the memory of that day. I'm clinging to the memory of God hiding under sorrow. I'm clinging to the hope of glowing blooms.
Because I desperately need to remember that life lives beneath us.