I first wrote this post a couple of years ago and have come back to it frequently as its words still ring true. Two years after the events that inspired the post, these memories are still moving me, reminding me to live my life to the fullest as one person in particular has done, and encouraging me to press on toward that for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. I am so looking forward to the giant, joyful reunion that will be.
No chilling winds nor poisonous breath
Can reach that healthful shore.
Sickness, sorrow, pain and death
Are felt and feared no more.
I am bound, I am bound, I am bound for promised land.
I sang those lyrics tonight while worshipping with a wonderful campus ministry and shortly afterwards, completely lost it. It sometimes doesn’t take much for me to cry. A few days ago I broke down watching a video of a marriage proposal by a friend’s coworker. I don’t even know those people! When I have these (sometimes ridiculous) breakdowns, I try to pinpoint why it is that I’m crying. Sometimes I have no clue. Sometimes I’m just really, really happy. Sometimes I’m just really, really sad.
Sometimes it’s a combination. In those sorts of times, I need to just sob it out. I need to think things through and gather myself.
Here’s what I think got me today.
During my freshman year, I was part of a little group of friends that hung out constantly. We all moved to different places the next year and saw each other significantly less often, but every time one red-headed, Hawaiian shirt-wearing, orange soda-drinking friend from that group saw me around campus, he would greet me with a huge smile, a loud shout of “MA-RISS-A!!!!” and a hug that lifted me off the ground. On June 29, 2011, he passed away.
It’s weird mourning someone hilarious. I would tell someone that a friend of mine had passed away, and then be overheard laughing hysterically ten minutes later as I recollected something he’d said or done. The only times I cry are when I think about how I’m not going have surprise visits with him, or about all of the good things that he could have gone on to do, or when I think about how he just might be someplace where sickness, sorrow, pain, and death are felt and feared no more.
I cry with joy.
This world is so disgustingly broken. Death can be painful for both the person who leaves and those who remain. I can’t definitively speak for anyone else’s relationship with Christ, but if, as I think and hope, he is in heaven now, he’s completely free from that pain. He’s with God in all of His perfection. I’m so happy for him, and happy that I have the same to look forward to.
I cry with sadness.
I’m still here. I miss him. I somehow miss the perfect place where I have never been.
I cry with joy.
My own brokenness- my discontent, my jealousy, my pain, my sorrow- is not all there is. The brokenness of the world- the famines, the destroyed relationships, the lies, the hatred- is not the end. We have a hope for something so much greater. And though I don’t know when I’ll get there, there are so many lights in the dark world around me. I am blessed by my relationship with Christ, more than I can possibly explain, and by the family, friends, miracles, and joy He has put around me. I can go from crying with sadness/joy by myself to enjoying time with people I love and remembering with a smile the life of someone that I am honored to have known. I have a purpose in this life and a goal to press on toward.
I’m still feeling the sickness, sorrow, pain and death. I’m working on not fearing them, but I feel them.
Still, praise the Lord,
I am bound. I am bound. I am bound for the promised land.