Friday, August 21, 2015

August 21: Rise Up, Resurrection, Faith Without Works, Maggie Nelson, Adventures of Stickman

Glorious life ending.  There must have been a moment when his son had gasped for air, the last time, as Jesus must have.  But as Jesus had risen, he wanted his son to rise up, organs and spirit and mind intact, and everything to be as it had been not so long ago.

I understand this paragraph on a much deeper level now.  Ives is grieving.  He wants to rewind his life, go back a few days when everything was bright and promising.  His son heading off to seminary.  The Christmas holidays fast approaching.  Parties with families and friends.  Ives wants a resurrection.

It's a selfish thing to think that life was better, easier, with my sister still alive in a hospital bed in my parents' living room.  In the immediate moments following her death, I was consumed with guilt.  In the past year, I wasn't the best brother I could have been.  I didn't visit her in the nursing home enough.  I avoided going to the hospital when she got sicker.  I put my own comfort ahead of my compassion and love.

Regrets.  I have a lot of them.  Like, if I had maybe been more of an advocate for my sister, perhaps her lymphoma could have been detected sooner, when treatment could have been more effective.  Like, if I had seen her more in the nursing home, she may not have called me on the phone, threatening to kill herself.  Like, if I had just held her hand more, told her how much she meant to me, I could have somehow made all of her suffering vanish.

There are very few resurrections in life.  My writing these thoughts in this blog post will not change anything.  My sister will still be gone tomorrow.  I will still be planning her funeral.  My words are powerless.  The apostle James writes, "What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to them, 'Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,' but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it?  In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead."

My words are useless.  They will not bring my sister back.  I write a great deal in this blog about being a Christian, but, like James says, faith without works is dead.  I failed this past year many times, as a brother and a Christian.  I will probably spend the rest of my life trying to forgive myself for that, and I will fail.

There will be no fairy tale tonight.  Maybe next Friday.

Saint Marty's words aren't worth a whole lot recently.

183 from Bluets

by:  Maggie Nelson

Goethe also worries over the destructive effects of writing.  In particular, he worries over how to "keep the essential quality [of the thing] still living before us, and not to kill it with the word."  I must admit, I no longer worry much about such things.  For better or worse, I do not think that writing changes things very much, if at all.  For the most part, I think it leaves everything as it is.  What does poetry do?--I guess it gives a kind of blue rinse to the language (John Ashberry).

Adventures of STICKMAN

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