Hello Everybody -
As I write this, a member of my extended family lies dying in the hospital from Stage IV lung cancer. While she has enjoyed relatively good health for quite some time, her recent decline has been shocking to our entire family. The shock for everyone came to us not because her condition was unknown, but rather because we as humans take for granted each other, the living and breathing we do every day, and most of all, the life cycle in which we are all forced to participate. No one will escape this reality. Life around us goes on as it normally does, but one day we look up and our parents look very old and weak. We see the wrinkles and gray hair where smooth skin and lush locks once were. We, and every one around us, are slowly approaching our final hours. This particuliar family member has had to live that fact in a very real and personal way. They are not afraid to die, having made their peace with God.
The metamorphosis of human life, from inside the womb, to infancy and childhood, adolescence, and ultimately old age is a shocker for everyone. No one ever stays the same, yet we are all “stuck” in the notion that Mom or Dad or Aunt Erma will function as they had twenty years ago, that they somehow become more, not less capable of avoiding our ire. We are always disappointed when we think this way, because it sets ourselves, and everyone else up for failure. Maybe that failure is what enables us to set off another endless rave about the person, and it serves a function. They disappoint us, and we get to let off steam about how annoying they are, a seemingly win-win situation.
We would rather forget that one day we will not have the same people around us as we once did. As a result, we take the trifles and irritations of family life a bit too seriously, instead of knowing that our time together is finite. I am not saying that serious issues should be swept aside, as these occur in nearly every family to some extent, and communication is a good thing for all. Instead, I am saying that individual family members should remember that historically, the bedrock of our society (the family) was not built upon any one member’s entitlement to “choose”, or “opt out” of their membership. That being said, estrangement from our core families seems to be an epidemic today. What does that say about us as children of God? Are we not all members of God’s family?
Most of all, how are we going to fight the good fight for God if we are swept away in an endless cycle of pride, anger, bitterness, and stubborn behavior? Everyone knows someone that at one time or another has had something against us, or vice versa. Maybe there has been a good reason that they or you feel the way they do. Maybe you think they don’t deserve forgiveness, aren’t asking for it, or will never admit they did something wrong.
Lent comes to us this year at a time in history when the death of our selfishness, our hate, our bitterness, and our anger has to happen in order to make way for Christ. He is our final journey, not cancer, or any other illness. So please consider putting down your defenses and make way for a renewal of our spiritual selves that will ultimately illuminate the presence of God within our lives for all to see.
Make Way for Christ!