Chapter 46: Middle Age
I guess if you hear of friends and colleagues dying unexpectedly — or earlier than you ever imagined — that means you are definitely in the Middle Age chapter of your life. Unfortunately, it’s happening again, much like this time last year.
Two men I know passed away this week. One was diagnosed with lung cancer about 5 years ago and the other was diagnosed with esophageal cancer only 23 days ago. Both were around 50 years old and had wives and children. There are no answers to this kind of suffering. The suffering of the one with the diagnosis — the long path of treatment, discomfort, sickness, pain, a few answers for a while; or the short path of treatment, sickness, pain, no answers. And the suffering of the families — to watch your husband/father face the disease, succumb to the finality, wonder what you could have done differently. Grasping to remember the warm and wonderful moments. No family should have to endure this. And yet it happens all the time.
Here we are on Good Friday, facing the cross and death straight on. Growing up I was taught that Good Friday was important, but Easter was the real deal. As I have engaged in the Presbyterian faith tradition the last 20 years or so, I have come to better understand how Holy Week in its entirety really matters. A clergy friend writes this week, “Good Friday agony was too close. Holy Saturday darkness was too real. Easter indeed felt like “an idle tale. … Just as the road to the manger has always been for the weary, the empty tomb has always been for the betrayed, broken, and grieving.” I know that sometimes I don’t feel like celebrating a resurrection. Sometimes it’s the dark Good Friday where my heart and mind want to sit for a bit.
If you are grieving a loss, or tending an injury of the heart or illness of the body, I believe the crucifixion teaches us that pain is part of the process of living. I know the painful moments of my life so far have been finite. Even when I wasn’t sure I could make it another day … the sun still came up.
You can read my friend Rev. AAM’s full post here.