Sunday, February 13, 2011

Frozen Ash

On Wednesday evening a dear friend from my M.A. university lost her mother after an abrupt chain of health issues that began with the flu. She was 58.

Thursday morning a plane went down at the Cork airport that has grown familiar to me after the past three summers. My dear friends whom I lived with knew two passengers among the victims and survivors. There were six survivors and six deaths.

Thursday afternoon a gunman (or gunkid, more accurately) entered a bank in a town down South where I have three dear friends in the police department. After the hours-long siege, the teenager tried to leave with a gun to the head of a hostage, and was killed by police snipers. He was nineteen.

This weekend has been tainted with the awareness that these beloved places of my life have been invaded by death, leaving us vulnerable and violated. For indeed Christ, who is the only one who has ever subsumed the death that subsumes us, did not annihilate death; he walked through it.

Perhaps then, if he stands above time looking on at the whole thing as one unit, then in a way he is still in all of it at once, and therefore still in the dying part. That is, at any rate, the only sense I can make of rejoicing at a time like this: if Christ right now is weeping at the tomb of Lazarus or suffering on the cross, then I suppose we can right now rejoice that the Resurrection is beginning, even as we are tasting death.

The New Creation has begun. It has begun in the resurrected flesh of Christ, who still offers his bleeding flesh to us who are still bleeding.
Spring sleeps in winter under reams of ice:
The cold can’t claw the germ of life away,
Nor life reduce the cold of this our slice
Of Illinois all bundled up in grey.

But now the daffodils, long decomposed,
Sleep silently, embalmed in frozen ash,
A crystalline memorial to those
Elusive germs among the burglar’s stash.

For you who stand above our one-way train
Of time have entered in this ice to give
Its April repercussions; our pain
Still kills you as your life yet makes us live.

And in the Valley of our frozen bone
The harvester will reap the flesh he’s sown.

1 comment:

MCS said...

Em, I'm sorry for the losses you have experienced. This expression of condolence is cold comfort, I'm sure. When sorrow enters our life, it's something we simply have to experience and "go through." Often it seems as if we are alone, and we are in the sense that no one else experiences what we experience; so we are alone.

Yet, all the suffering throughout all the world affects us all--through the Mystical Body. So, the solidarity of the Mystical Body joins us all. MCS