In the morning bustle, I grabbed two coffee mugs--one for me and one for him. I knew he had eight minutes to leave. Ten if we pushed it, he told me. I rushed the mugs over to the pot, trying to bless him with good brew to get him through an early morning. As I passed the sink on my way to the coffee, the porcelain crashed against the ceramic and in an instant, the mug was in shards all over the ground. He rushed out and quickly swept away the remains of the accident. Of the mess.
He got to work on time, if you're wondering. And I hopped in the shower. I heard a clinking. As I toweled off, I realized what it was--she, the big pup, had a piece. I grabbed it away from her--a task considering how much she wanted to hold on to it. Who knows why.
I dressed in my funeral best. It is, after all, the day of his death. Black with a pop of color. My favorite color. Because I love him too much not to wear color, even at the recognition of his death. I went on with my makeup. I heard the clinking again. This time I didn't immediately recognize it. I made my way to the kitchen and saw her with another piece. As I lunged for it, she backed away. It had punctured her gums. The piece was shiny and red as fresh blood covered the metallic color. She really didn't want me to have it. She was hurt but she thought keeping this thing, this remains of a mess, was hers to keep. That it would provide her...something? Fun? Enjoyment? Control? I could tell by the way she shuddered at my touch she was afraid to let me have it. She may have known the pain but she was too scared that my touch would only cause more pain.
I waited until she relaxed and grabbed the piece from her, getting a glimpse of the laceration on her front lip. She wouldn't let me touch it. It was too fresh. After a few seconds, she realized the thing she wanted so badly to keep from me was the thing that had caused the pain in the first place.
As I sat to write you all this morning, she was still standing in shock. And now? Just moments later? She is playing fetch with abandon. Coming to me, realizing I took the bad stuff and gave her freedom to play with things that are hers for the taking. Not the painful shards of glass that will leave her hurting.
I hope today, as you make your way to a service (and I hope you make your way to a service), if you are holding on to something painful, you will recognize it for the pain it holds in your life. Do you have such a tight grip on it, knowing that control may mean pain but being too afraid of the alternative to surrender it to the kind hand who will make you whole again?
" But God demonstrates his love for us in this: while we were still sinners, Christ died for us." Romans 5:8
Today we celebrate a life well lived and a death not deserved. We put on our funeral best and recognize we, with our shards of ceramic and mess and desire to keep our lives separate from him, we nailed him to a cross.
Today is hard. It's like the death of a loved one. It is the death of a loved one. Though I know it took him, and me, to a better place, it's hard to sit here and realize today means death. Even if better is coming. I tried to talk to God about my feelings about his son's death today and found myself on the brink tears and unable to put anything into words. This death and resurrection thing? It's easier when you keep your distance. But it's not better. Today, I grieve the loss of a family member, a friend, a man who loved me so much that he gave his life to take my shard of ceramic that pierced me and would have killed me.
Sunday, we celebrate the hand that took the pain away. The body. The blood. The funeral today? It is short-lived, my friends. We don't have to suffer, to be afraid, to wonder what will happen if we let it go. We can rest in his promise that he will take it and we are free to run with abandon. To chase after him and him alone.