It follows strange pathways through my body. I’m tired of feeling it.
I had the thought two days ago, I want to forget her. I will gather all the things in my home that remind me of her. I will box them up and make them disappear from sight. Memories only lead to grief when your someone is murdered.
My phone rings from a good friend of thirty years.
We never talk talk. Just catch up via social media.
It triggered the same panic that I get every time the phone rings, someone is dead. I answered it. Of course no one is dead. We had a lovely conversation filled with laughter and her voice just exactly the way I remember.
I still fear answering my phone. I get a jolt of adrenaline and panic.
I’m tired of my grief. I am choosing life, I promise you. But grief just comes ambling in and you are stricken by lightening. You choose to regroup, get on with whatever it is you were doing, or curl into a singed ball.
I hear a certain performer and remember she loved going to concerts with her kids. I see a certain flower and remember her love of tulips. I smell a food and think of her cooking. I cook and the kitchen is messy, I think of how messy she was. I unlock my car and think of how she broke my lock and how furious I felt. I drive her son to football and know that she would have been a great sports Mom.
Forty something years of memories that cannot be boxed up and made to go away. Though I am tired of my grief I carry on.
My sister’s murder shut me down, I have had to close off the pain. It is the only way to keep going. And go we must. It is not like I don’t want to go on. Life holds plenty of goodness. But living in a world where a husband can kill a wife with a gun, well, that is unimaginable to me. I have spend many, many hours thinking about how to go on.
We must not only imagine it, we must live it.
With all the killings this week, I have to admit, I’m shook up. There are so many hard memories that I have put away in a safe box and the news takes that box and shakes it hard. Pain comes flying out at the most unexpected and inconvenient moments.
And then things that shouldn’t be hard, become hard. “I chose the number 73 on my football jersey because it is the year mom was born.”
“What a wonderful way to remember her,” I say with my heart crackling like it is on fire and my head spinning.
We are coming up on three years, in June. Three years later it is still a hard lump in my throat and I find myself avoiding conversation with everyone today because I don’t want to answer “How are you?” People just mean “hey” or “how was your night?” and I want to say “My face is burning hot right now, to be honest, because I just remembered my sister is dead and I don’t want to talk to you right now.”
But I won’t be rude. “Hey back,” I’ll reply, “Great Bucks game last night.”
Why not love if you have the option between that and hate? Why does hate come so easily? Why judge? Or condemn? Why is it that Christians so often are known for how they judge others?
Jesus said blessed are the peacemakers.
But we don’t bring peace. We rejoice in someone’s suffering. Bin Laden is dead!
We wish for more for us which means less for them, who ever they are.
We can only think of our own needs. We groan about the price of gas and our grocery bill, when others have to take public transport and go to bed hungry. Often living with fear and financial insecurity. Have no home. Have nothing.
Why can’t we love more tenderly? I dare you. I dare you to love today. Be a peacemaker. Hold your tongue.
The world is waiting for us to love, in Jesus’ name.
The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral,begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy.Instead of diminishing evil, it multiplies it. Through violence you may murder the liar, but you cannot murder the lie,nor establish the truth.Through violence you murder the hater, but you do not murder hate.In fact, violence merely increases hate….Returning violence for violence multiples violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars.Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that.Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.
MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR., Where Do We Go from Here: Chaos or Community?