Cold Comforts

I continue to be amazed at this whole grief thing. I am new to it. It’s one of those things that I guess we hope we never get too experienced at. I have this nagging voice in the back of my mind that wants me to spout some obligatory niceties about how pain makes us stronger and mature and stuff. This is the point where I am supposed to find the silver lining in my suffering. I am not really “feeling it” today though. At this particular moment, that is all cold comfort. I guess I am not as enlightened as I want to be.
My mom died months ago.
She is not suffering any more.
I guess I am supposed to gush about where she is now. How amazing it is. How happy she is there. How I will be there, too; there will be this reunion.
It is a little more difficult to admit that this also, it isn’t a whole lot of solace. I think it’s more difficult to admit that this one is no help because it leaves me looking, feeling, and being greedy and self centered. Of course I want mom not to suffer. But also, I want my mom here, with me.
NT Wright focuses on the idea that the history of Christianity is a story of Heaven crashing into Earth, of the divine invading the profane, of the Godly popping up in the midst of the human. This is the kingdom of God: eruptions of these little pieces of perfection amidst the rubbish that this world can be.

The original Jewish temple was such a place. And Jesus, fully God, dwelling among us is, too. The Holy Spirit invades Jesus followers, too. And all these are places where the kingdom is sprouting up, where heaven crashes into Earth.
I am so keenly aware of my mom as an ambassador of God. Parents, in their seeming omnipotence, are inherently this way to young kids. But my mom had this genourosity, this gentleness, this kindness. Even when I realized she wasn’t God, I saw God’s work through her.
I guess one of the things that hurts is that with her gone, I feel a little further from God. That stupid, yappy voice in the back of my head tells me that this is for the best, I should find God more directly. But I’m not much interested in listening to all those sorts of things, right now.

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jeffsdeepthoughts

The stories that speak to our soul begin at a home where things are good. Cinderella is happy with her father. The three little pigs have grown up and are ready to move on. Bilbo Baggins knows his shire. Adam and Eve walk with God in the garden. My story isn’t much different. There was a time and a place where it was so good. There was a community for me. And there was joy. We were filled with a sincere desire to do what God wanted us to do. We possessed explanations and understandings that went a certain distance. We offered security and tradition and laughter. For a lot of years, that was enough. I have this sense that it was also necessary. I have this surety, now, that it certainly wasn’t everything. There were some things that became increasingly problematic as time went by. There was a desire to package things up so very neatly. Sunday morning services were efficient and strategic. Responses to differences of opinion were premeditated. Formula began to feel more important than being real. A real desire for everybody to be one of us, but also a real sense that there is an us, and there is a them. They carried a regret that it has to be this way, but deeper than this regret was a surety that this is how it is. I began to recognize that there was a cost of admission to that group. There were people who sat at the door, collecting it. Those people wished they didn’t have to. But I guess they felt like they did have to. They let some people in, and they left others out. There was a provisional membership. My friends did possess a desire to accommodate people that are different… But it would be best for everyone concerned if they were only a little bit different. I did make many steps forward in this place. Before I went there, there were lies that I believed. Some of the things that I learned there, I still hold on to. But that place is not my home anymore. Those people are not my community anymore. There were times it was hard. I am engaged in a different community now. And I am working hard at finding a place in many different places now, embracing many different kind of families. I don’t always get it right. I am trying and I am learning and I am moving foreward. I have this sense that I am not alone in these experiences. I believe that we are tribe and we are growing. We are pilgrims, looking for a new holy land. Perhaps we won’t settle on the same spot of land. But if you’ve read this far, I am thinking that we are probably headed in the same general direction. I have begun this blog to talk about where my journey is taking me. In every space, we find people who help us along. And maybe we can get to know each other, here. We embrace ideas that provide a structure for the things we believe, and perhaps we can share these too. Maybe we can form a group, a tribe, a community, if we can figure out a way to work through the shadow of these kinds of groups, if we can bigger than the us-and-them ideas that have caused so much trouble in the past. As important as they are, I think the very nature of online interactions will lend itself to something equally powerful. I am stumbling onto these practices that my grandfathers and great grandfathers in the faith engaged in. I am learning about these attitudes and intuitions are so different than the kinds of things we call doctrine today. I don’t know about you, but I am running out of patience, and even interest, in conversations about doctrine. I hope that maybe you’ll share a little something about where your journey is taking you, and maybe our common joys and challenges might help each other along, and we might lift each other up. Thanks for doing this journey with me.

One thought on “Cold Comforts”

  1. You have a lot of shoulds. I don’t think they’re true, even if what’s behind them is true. I think you can acknowledge both the truth of those things AND the fact that you don’t find them particularly comforting at present, without “shoulding” on yourself.

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