Monday, April 23, 2007

Beside the Still Waters, She Will Lead...

The Lord is my shepherd,
I have all I need.

I have often appreciated the sorrowful, meditative, somber aspects of the Christian faith. The memories that sustain my faith are short glimpses: incomplete thoughts that constantly float through my head. The first time I saw the altar stripped at the end of a Maundy Thursday service before Good Friday. The haunting wails of Psalms filling a synagogue during Passover. The imposition of ashes on my forehead during college, reminding me that I was from dust, and to dust I will return. And hearing Bobby McFerrin’s 23rd Psalm fill the room as I watched photos of my mother on a projector in a small chapel in south Texas.

Memories of my mom are sometimes just as fleeting, but no less powerful. The way she would touch the back of my arm when she talked to me. Her still, small voice in prayer over me when I was sick. Her absolute love of any kind of music I gave to her. And what she said in my ear at my graduation from college, struggling for words as the disease was taking full hold of her mind, “I’m so proud of you, Jason.”

In the 36 hours before the funeral, I couldn’t eat. I recognized that I was hungry, and I certainly felt weak, but I just couldn’t consume anything. I wonder if it was my body’s way of mourning.

On Thursday and Friday of last week, the Texas sun soaked my body in a warmth that had been missing from Chicago as of late. On the day of the funeral, the sun began to be dwarfed by rain clouds, and it has been overcast every day since. The life-giving sun was nowhere in sight. I wonder if it was the earth’s way of mourning the sorrow that currently consumes us.

Eventually, however, the sun will be visible once again, and I finally nourished my body with some food. But my mother is still gone, and will be forever.

She leads me in a path of good things,
And fills my heart with songs.

I wonder how long mourning is “supposed” to last. Certainly our culture does not necessarily validate or recognize this as a way of dealing with suffering. It did not end with the funeral on Saturday, just like it didn’t end with the moment when my mother first stopped realizing who I was one year ago.

It will continue until it stops, with both joy and sorrow consuming me where they may. Maybe I’m more drawn to the sorrowful moments because they point me to the beauty inherent in life.

I look to Good Friday, because I know that, through the darkness of death, Christ rises.

And I know that even though Mom is dead, she is alive. As Pastor Lori reminded us at her funeral, she can now breathe better, move better, eat better, and remember better than ever. She need not be comforted any more.

I guess it’s just us left to be comforted.

…that was always my mom’s job.     

She will be missed.

Even though I walk
Through a dark and dreary land,
There is nothing that can shake me.
She has said she won’t forsake me:
I’m in her hand.


At 9:02 AM , Anonymous Katie said...

It will continue until it stops and then it will return and remind you when you least expect it but you will be alright. You'll make it through and people around you will help you if you ask because they love you.

In other news, on the not eating thing, my aunt had sent my uncle for breakfast tacos the morning my father died. I distinctly remember carrying that stupid taco around the entire house with me all morning long, intending to eat it, but I'm pretty sure I never took more than a bite the entire time.

The slideshow was beautiful. Your words are beautiful. You are beautiful.

much love, Katie

At 11:10 PM , Blogger Pastor Lori said...

M'ijo, you found some words. I'm not sure I have any in reply, but here I am. Peace++

At 12:10 PM , Blogger Meow said...

thinking of you, J.


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