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.


Monica Merced Rich said...

Ok -- that was depressing. With the exception of Pres. Hinkley's quote, of course. That was my favorite bit of this month's Ensign and I have been thinking about it all month.

woobers_mom said...

What is depressing is that there are those who are overcome with the darkness of the world.

But consider:
"And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free."
--gospel of St. John, 8:32

"Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life.
"I am that bread of life.
"Your fathers did eat manna in the wilderness, and are dead.
"This is the bread which cometh down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof, and not die."
--gospel of St. John 7:46 - 50

Ideas have consequences.

Paul & Sarah said...

I have also grown up with a fear of death. I think it is not because I don't know there is something after this life, because that does provide great hope, but it is a fear of the rest of this life without that person. Thank goodness we do have the faith we do, though!

Audrey said...

I love President Hinckley's quote here. I found it a little while back and it is quite comforting. It is so easy to sometimes get so caught up in our own lives when things are going well, that we don't think about how truly blessed we are or even contemplate the unfair and hard lives that others face. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

Jacqueline Auna & family said...

hey - what happened to that cute post about your father's "type"? It was so endearing, and I've never even met your dad! But I'd like to now.

Thank you for sharing your feelings on the resurrection, I was moved. I too am so grateful for the brightness of hope our Savior's love & Atonement sheds on death and sin!

Tat said...

When I saw the painting you added here of Peter and John headed for the tomb, I thought of how beautiful and captivating and striking it is where it hangs in the Musee d'Orsay. (This is the kind of art we need Mormons to be making!) Thank you for reminding me of the painting and the sentiments surrounding it.

Lauren said...

Thanks for sharing this - I am glad Will's test went well.

Sister Abigail Cannon said...

The President Hinckley quote must be everyone's is mine, too. I also loved seeing the painting, you know how much I love that as well. Happy Easter! It is the knowledge that even after the darkest night, the day breaks with joy. love, Momo

Tara, Doug, and Isaac said...

I too was missing the heterosexual-Dad post. I guess someone didn't love it?:) Or it was one of those whims of the night that felt less secure in the day?

Anyway, thanks for the Resurrection post. I've been feeling physically miserable for the last month (I'm pregnant, but it's still a secret, so don't congratulate me on my blog!). It has been SO awful, and the only hope of relief has been through prayer. I keep thinking, "At least Christ knows EXACTLY what this is like, so He can comfort me." This has been tough. So thank goodness for the Healer's art.

lynne said...

alexandra - i love how you put things (and your dad's poem was so cheery!)

so, so glad will's cf test was great. i miss talking with you, a good long conversation. on of these days, right??