Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Are You Ready for Resurrection?

[In the early 1980s I lived in a cabin hidden in a ravine in a wild part of northern California. My only neighbor was Muskrat, a wise woman who had grown up in the area, so poor that often all she had to eat was what she could catch. Shortly after her husband died, I fell sick with what was thought to be a mortal illness. But against all odds, I survived the surgery, and lived to see another spring.]

We had a real spring that year—spring for the first time in many seasons. The wildflowers were spectacular. We emerged each day into the sun, the flowers and I, blinking with new life. Each day I ventured a little farther.

There were more wood orchids than even Muskrat could remember. Mission Bells were easy to find, a stalk of scalloped umbrellas the size of my thumbnail, purple on the outside, speckled yellow inside. There were whole slopes of blue and white flags far up the creek near the wilderness area, and once I found a yellow lily.

It was the first spring of my new life. Each petal and leaf impressed itself as I walked slowly, or knelt dumbfounded with a trowel in my hand.

Golden eagles, back from their winter vacation, circled overhead, screaming; ospreys returned to their huge brush pile of a nest downstream; otters feasted on a late run of fish.

I planted seeds and strawberries, raising and lowering myself carefully, rejoicing at returning strength. It rained enough to keep things growing.

Steelhead splashed up the creek, thrashing in their gravel nests, spawning, rushing back to the sea. I was caught again in the wonder of death and life, a state of unknowing—of the old world, of my static, now shattered notions of life and self.

What did all those people feel—Jairus' daughter, the son of the Widow of Nain, Lazarus? Did they, too, wake to unknowing, to the dread of life without fear? A newness, the vastness of life not their own?

We pray presumptuously for miracles, not realizing the consequences, without pity for the poor victim. We speak glibly of resurrection.

Are you ready for resurrection? Don't believe it for a minute. No one can be ready. Maybe we can prepare for death, but it is infinitely more difficult to prepare for life. I had been told that full recovery from my surgery could take up to two years. But I now know that convalescence from the gift of life will take the rest of it.

[From: Seasons of Death and Life: A Wilderness Memoir]


Blogger Barb said...

Oh how I long for Springtime. It's been six long years now and I count the days almost every day. I pray, I read, I try new things. I give up. I seek the ever-elusive community of faith where I can feel a part of the crowd.

Oh how I long for Springtime. I know it's a promised season. I wonder with every year why it passes me by.

11:15 pm, July 15, 2008  

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