Mortality is on my mind at the moment, I imagine it’s on many people’s minds. At the Gathering we deal with many taboos. Death in our scientific western healthcare world has become one of the great taboos, we hide it away, demand hospitals stop it, don’t talk about it in polite society, trivialise it in films and sensationalise it in the media. We all know it happens all of us will be touched by it yet when it happens. What is there to say. I felt I needed to say something.
Life is fragile, Syria, suicide bombers, teenage gunners, Bowie, Rickman, my father …
One moment and the whole fucking world is turned on its head, terrorists and crazy PM’s do their worst but actually all it takes is one bit of weakness in a blood vessel. That is all it takes to decimate human life. It seems at times nature is crueler than any regime.
When I look around me at the moment I am struck at how we get so caught and tangled on, to me, what feel like trivialities, on things that really shouldn’t matter. Consumed by hate, jealousy, avarice, vengeance, regret, unforgiveness, why do we hold onto these? They become all to us, in our desire for our rights, or justice or a human sense of fairness. From regimes to politicians to old friends to the vulnerable, no one is immune to these traps, and the world is beaten and bloody and fallen for it. Because of these things, we isolate ourselves, dehumanise the other, kick out those who think differently and children wash up on the shore.
And right now I find myself in danger of falling into these traps. I miss my Dad.
My Dad was one of a kind, mischievous, grumpy, an artist, clever, annoying, generous, stingy, funny, teasing, sarcastic, encouraging, proud of his children and too young to go, with too much to do and too many people who didn’t want him to go.
When I think of him I’m angry, and sad and there’s a hole. I think though is because, most of all, he was loving. I knew my Dad loved me, I knew my Dad loved his family, I knew my Dad loved all those around him, even those he struggled to like. At his thanksgiving there was standing room only. I knew my Dad loved Love, he loved God even though he wrestled with what his faith was placed in He gave in little ways and was a romantic, and looked at his family wanted to do his best for them and saw that it was good. I realised after he was gone that he was my hero, I’m told I’m like him, I hope I learn from him.
A friend told me in the midst of my grief that “We live in a world where both nature and man conspire to undermine God, but you have to keep reminding yourself that in Christ there is wholeness and restoration beyond this suffering.”
I don’t know what happens when we die, and I am angry and hurt, and grieved, and I must feel these things to their full degree because to me they aren’t trivialities, they’re all encompassing.
But I can’t hold on to them, I mustn’t forget love.
Because in Christ there is more, in this short life there is more, in whatever happens after there is more because there is love, and love abides, and restores and I love my Dad.