Sunday, September 12, 2010

The silver cord snaps

It seems as I get older I am more inclined to dislike and truly resent death. Of course this may seem a perfectly good waste of one's energy when little is as certain as death, but it doesn't wash my mouth of the bitter bile that it leaves.

A friend of mine, Pauline O' Briain passed away recently and I found out when my phone beeped with a new email breaking the dreadful news. It's hard to describe what you feel when someone you last saw with breath in them, a wide, eye-creasing smile and glittery eyes full of life no longer has one. There are few words that can capture the way your insides have suddenly been left hanging suspended in the air- how everything about you stops as you try and reconcile that earth, and all of us has lost another soul's light.

Even as I write this I feel outraged with death. I feel maddened by its blood thirst and disregard for this most holy of gifts that God has given- so much so, am shaking and crying.

I watched two films this week that probably helped solidify this in me. Remember Me and Everything is illuminated. Both of the closing scenes in these films have gone beyond haunting me and left a sad yearning.

It isn't just the fact that moment of death is still uncharted territory until our silver cord snaps or that we go there alone but it's all those we leave behind. We leave them to reminicise, cry, lose sleep, have recurring dreams, wish and miss and hopefully, heal and carry on.

I've been worried I'm losing my God perspective on all of this. He experienced death, firsthand, on both sides of the fence and he is alive to tell the tale (so to speak). He also spent much of His human life comforting us with what would come next and somewhere in all of the riddles and rhymes, hinted He would be there to meet us.

There are those that argue that this life is it - that one day we'll be merely dust. But even despite my fury with death I refuse to believe it has the final say. Perhaps I am being a silly beatnik, but there is too much in this life of ours, too much for it to simply end in nothing.

And so that is where my hope will be - that the one who wept on his knees for his dead friend, just moments before He raised him, understands this grief that lies in me. Understands those who still remember their dead.


  1. Where there is pain, there is life. A true saying that bothers me most when someone I know loses a friend and I feel almost nothing. It is only when I feel most loved that the sorrow, the pain and the death of others hurts the most. I have thought, and still do that if there is no way of knowing what is on the other side, why not chose to believe that it is good beyond my imagination. Jesus said to give up our lives for him, and in that we would find them. But there is also something intrinsically frenetic in believing that this life is all there is. There is a frisson that comes with the idea that life must be lived, for too soon it will pass, that this is our time, our only one and it is up to us to live life for all its worth. Perhaps the truth is somewhere in the midst of that - that losing our lives for Jesus is really the way to living life to the full, through the suffering, through the pain, being loved, loving others and all the while knowing that every singe choice we make matters, that our love could be the difference between life and death for not only us, but others too - friends, family, strangers and enemies. The difference between heaven and hell.

  2. Thank you, Iain. I had to read this a couple of times and with each time my heart smiled in gratitude that God surrounds us with good people, so that we have company- come what may.