life has a persistent habit of going on, whether one wants it to or not. (especially for people who tend to say yes to things.) we just finished music directing snow white with christian youth theater. last time we music directed with cyt was exactly a year ago; i spent the whole show hiding my new pregnancy and hoping that no one would notice that i was constantly green with nausea and falling asleep during choreography lessons.
i’m teaching piano again, we’re directing choir, i was just admitted to portland state university to start classes in the fall. we’re undertaking a new adventure to build our family – more on that tomorrow – while trying to figure out what it means to live at peace with the family we have. the two of us, falling more in love with each other each day, and each day bringing us closer to an eternity with the child we love.
he’s six months old today. i hope they’re having a party for him in heaven. heaven comes sharply into focus when the lines of this world are softened through tears. as i gaze out the window, it’s not hard to imagine him, just beyond the impenetrable blue veil, laughing and living with a crowd of the imperfect washed perfect, fully human and fully alive.
you know, i think the biggest problem with my life before sky was that there wasn’t enough death in it. it’s so common to live a deathless life in the first world; we compartmentalize and cure and avoid and delegate and repress. but we fear most that which we don’t know, and the longer we avoid death the more we have to fear. the longer we live without loss, the more we have to lose.
and we are deeply, desperately afraid.
(or maybe that was just me.)
but everybody dies. we carry this death in our bodies every moment that brings us closer to it; time itself is little more than living death. maybe the only way to live without fear of death is to normalize it – to be preoccupied with it.
now, lest you think i’m some sort of black-lipsticked grave worshiper (i’m not. i don’t even own lipstick.), consider: what is life, but the absence of death? and what is death but the absence of life? we would not have these words without the contrast; without the constant tug of one against the other for the duration of time. it is not until we have a profound appreciation and constant understanding of death that we can choose fight for life, to fight for justice, to fight for peace.
when we make peace with this lifelong struggle, then and only then can we live without fear.
and so here is my benediction for everyone, that i would not wish on anyone:
may your life be touched so profoundly by the curse of death that you are released from its power. may you be given, through the gift of death, the opportunity to live a life without fear.
today marks six months since sky was born. for six months we have celebrated his life and mourned his death.
today i am profoundly sad. but i am not afraid.