Tuesday, May 20, 2008

So, my posts have tended towards less than happy lately...

But the thing is... I am doing alright. I wanted to throw that out there. Earlier last week, I was having a pretty difficult time because new things that happen with Ma tend to upset me a bit. Because I consider myself to be a realistic person, I recognized that she would probably not do well with the anesthesia from the hip surgery, and that this violence thing is a new part of her life. With all that, I'm doing better now. I have awesome friends who support me and who ask me how Ma is doing. People pray for Ma, my family, and me through all of this, and faith also helps me.

I just keep thinking about how weird it is that Ma is so far gone already. And I realize that other people have lives that are filled with much more heartache and loss than mine is, but sometimes it just weirds me out to know that I'm a twenty-five year old woman dealing with her mother's quick and steady cognitive decline. Sometimes, despite all of my awesome friends, it makes me feel a little bit alone. There are other people here at Seminary whose parents have dealt with dementia, but to my knowledge, I am the only one in my age group. It's just weird to know that Ma will never see this wonderful place where I live and learn in order to hopefully someday serve the church professionally. It's weird to know that she thinks my sisters and I are young children she has to care for and cook for, and what not. It's weird to think that it is quite possible that the end for her could be nearer than we think, although we do not know for certain. Weird and isolating, I suppose, although, the isolation comes through my own doing, and really isn't THAT big a deal. I think I'm doing a pretty good job with trying to be more open about what is happening. I'm still working on it.

And even in my own isolation, I reflect on the cross. Jesus cried out in Matthew 27:46, "My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?" Jesus felt abandoned, isolated, and upset. The Word made flesh in Jesus Christ came and lived this sinless life, and yet, his life was not all kittens and teddy bears. Sure, he made friends, but he also made enemies of many of the religious leaders of the day. He even ticked off one of his own disciples by not having the costly perfume sold in order to give it to the poor. Many events in Jesus' life led to his crucifixion, but I think it is important to not gloss over Jesus' crying out because he believed himself to be abandoned. But the truth is, Jesus was not alone on the cross; he had the power of sin and death with him-unhelpful and uncompassionate companions. Galatians 3:13 says that Christ became a curse for us, and Martin Luther states that a piece of that comes from the fact that this sinless Jesus came and took the sin of every man, woman, and child into his sinless self in order for the Father to be able to see humanity as cleansed. That is how the powers of sin and death were overcome on our behalf. Jesus took every part of humanity into himself in order to redeem and offer restoration to us. He took our shame, our suffering, our hatred, contempt, envy, anger, sadness in order that he could share with us in all that it is to be human; in order that the one through whom all things were made (John 1:3) would be the one through whom all things would be redeemed. Christ shoulders our burdens with us and allows us strength, or better yet, even the ability to be weak, until at last we can set them down and they are obliterated in the eternal love and grace of God in Jesus Christ. In our strength, which is not even as strong as God's weakness (1 Cor. 1:25), and in our weakness, which shows that God's work is within us, upholding and strengthening us when we are unable to do so ourselves.

So, we do have these companions with us: joy, sadness, fear, loathing, anger, happiness, excitement, pride, and so forth. These emotions are a part of who we are and how we perceive and act to the people and the world around us. The Incarnation means that God cares about us enough to experience these things with us in Christ. May we recognize that we are never truly alone because God stands with us in Christ through even the worst of situations; not necessarily to make us feel better, but to offer a word of peace in the midst of turmoil. Thanks be to God.

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