I regret not posting more lately- has it been 3 weeks? The last days and hours and minutes I've been spending time with my parents, mostly- who moved on the 4th of July. Independence Day: I suppose it is a fitting title for a day to set forth on a new journey- for me an odd mix of sadness and expectation.
I've been reading a book by Matt Rogers, When Answers Aren't Enough- Experiencing God as Good When Life Isn't. The author writes a lot about the subject of death, speaking specifically about his experience as a student pastor locally affected by the Virginia Tech massacre. His raw, honest questions about death lead him to discuss the general brokenness of the world- the corruption of perfection and beauty since the fall in Eden. At the same time, he does not become swallowed up by hopelessness but calls attention to glimpses of heaven here on earth. One moment he is frustrated that people use euphemisms like "passed away" because they seem like attempts to gloss over the tragedy and unnaturalness of death. Death is death- saying it nicely doesn't change what it is. Yet in another instance he is relishing a mountain-top view in awe of God, wondering just how magnificent the world was meant to be if the deteriorating creation that remains is as beautiful as what he is witnessing.
I echo his sentiments, although I am by no means dealing with death and tragedy on such a level as he was. But my parents moving away is a hardship to me. It is something that affects me deeply and reminds me that there is a disparity between the world as I know it, and a perfect place where relationships are not stretched and altered by geography and pain in all its forms is replaced by joy. And in two ways I find that I can relate to Matt Rogers' thoughts: First, it is okay to call my parents' move what it is- a loss to me. It will not help to tell myself that they are not really "gone"- that I can call them whenever and even Skype them and keep in touch online. I will miss their actual physical presence in many more ways than they may realize. For me- this is sad- this is pain- we each are faced with our own experience of the brokenness of this world, and this is part of mine.
Second, I still believe in a good God and I must continue to acknowledge His fingerprint in all creation- warped though it is now- and look for even brief moments when I feel His kingdom come here on earth. How selfish of me to see only pain when God has given beauty too? How full is the presence and mercy of the God who gives me daily glimpses of His glory and love?
One of the places lately that I have felt the most grace and peace and closeness to God is outside- in my vegetable garden. I have to weed and work to water the plants- and so even in my special spot are elements of the curse- but there is something so amazing to me about the way plants grow. There is something so perfect and whole within me when I am there in His creation. A little Eden.