Sunday, March 23, 2008
An Easter Prayer
They will not save you, those from whom you sought
some help, no, nor the writings they left behind.
Niether the last breath of Christ or Socrates
saves you from death.
Dust, like all that, whatever words you write
and dust as well the pitiful words you say.
Fate will have no pity anyway
And the night is an everlasting night.
Here is another uplifting poem courtesy of Bishop Bill Smith, my dad. I am surprised I never received a copy of this heart-warmer while on my mission. Too bad.
On this Easter night, I am thinking about the Resurrection. I no longer take for granted the idea that Christ destroyed death for us all. I hate even thinking about death. I do not accept it as a natural part of life. To me it is awful and degrading and lonely, a depressing ending to a long and full life, a tragic and unfair cutting short of the young and new lives. It is inevitable, but I still fear it. I fear it for all those I love, for those I just know casually, for myself. I found an old address book of my grandparents, full of names and streets so matter-of-factly recorded, and felt sort of horrified at the realization that all of those people were dead, the addresses populated by a new generation of people, who would also pass away. When my cousin was killed at age 25 and we gathered at her home to mourn together, my dad and I went out on the back deck that she used to blow bubbles on on summer days. He commented that Emily was still back at the cemetary, all alone. And her body was. Death is loneliness.
The worst part is that some people never really get a shot at happiness in this life. Whether it is because they were taken so very early or because the circumstances of their lives utterly prevented the happiness that the rest of us take for granted, it is the same. And it is so unfair.
But all of that is completely remediated, fully healed by the sacrifice we celebrate at Easter.
President Hinckley provided a beautiful reminder of the hope that defeats the absolute unfairness of life.
"We live in a world of uncertainty. For some, there will be great accomplishment. For others, disappointment. For some, much rejoicing and gladness, good health and gracious living. For others, perhaps sickness and a measure of sorrow. We do not know.
But one thing we do know. Like the Polar Star in the heavens, regardless of what the future holds, there stands the Redeemer of the world, the Son of God, certain and sure as the anchor of our immortal lives. He is the rock of our salvation, our strength, our comfort, the very focus of our faith."
It is in Christ that all hope resides, and through Him that death has no sting. I will try to remember. I am thankful that I know that it is not an everlasting night.