The Taser's Edge


Seeking Entrance to the Mysteries

I just finished writing my weekly reflection for this week on this patient who (I realized while writing this sentence) I will never forget.  Life, death, decay, in a visible war in his flesh.  Death is winning.  For now.  What does it mean that his body will be redeemed?  Death will be reversed and he will be made new as he never was before.  Maybe that’s something his wife and I could talk about today.

I really want to do a verbatim on whatever we talk about today.  I wish I had done a series of verbatim to record this whole thing.  I will never be the same after this.  I just realized that too.  I need to say it to somebody.  Maybe more than one body.

I just said it to K, who’s sitting here in the office beside me, writing her own overly long reflection.  I told her about this ministry of the funeral procession that I’m experiencing and offering, and she told me this quote from the presentation she went to by Tom Long, in which he focused on the procession: “We carry the dead to the edge of Mystery.”  We are journeying with the dead as far as we can go (and, I think, perhaps a step or four further).  I am journeying with this patient as Death takes him where he does not want to go.  And I am journeying with the man’s wife.  Death is not taking us, but we are playing follow-the-leader. Death takes this man, the woman follows her husband—screaming, beating Death on his arms, faceless face, and back, trying to break Death’s unbreakable grip on her lover—and I follow after, walking beside the woman.

Or perhaps the vision is of the man in his sealed coffin.  His wife tries to break it open, pleading that he’s alive in there.  “He’s alive, don’t you see?”  And the pallbearers, perhaps wearing labcoats, perhaps wearing the nametags of the doctors, of the nurses, are walking relentlessly forward, are marching.  They may slow, and she cries out, “They’re bringing him home!”  She looks at me: “They’re bringing him home!”  She looks at the pallbearers: “He’s coming home!”

She looks at me and at my face, which says (as much as  I try to hide it) that I don’t believe her.  I’m involved in this too.  I’m taking this man to the grave too.  It doesn’t matter that I say we’ll put the body in the grave, and her husband will drop through fire and come out whole, whole in a way he’s never known. That his laughter and joy will overcome with tears this taciturn husband she knew, slow to emote but with a glowing hot heart.  On that day he will dance and sing.  He will leap to tap heels together, but leap over Saturn before coming down again.  He will laugh so deeply in the joy of his new wholeness that it will shake the stars, and they will fall to his feet, and he will eat them, saying they taste better than ice cream and fresh snow, this one like strawberry and this one like banana (which surprises him, as he never has liked banana before).

What will he see as he looks back to his wife, who is mourning, who is caring for their shattered children?  What will he say about it to the God he will know face to face?  These are the mysteries of joy and terror.


1 Comment so far
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wow, beautiful.

Comment by the Mrs.




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