Thursday, April 3, 2014

When Death Comes

Yesterday's dawn tries to break through the darkness.
Dylan Thomas has a poem to his dying father that I have long liked.  It ends:
"Do not go gentle into that good night.
 Rage, rage against the dying of the light."
Death is not our friend.  It is the enemy that has been vanquished by the death and resurrection of Jesus.  Jesus' raising Lazarus from the dead acts out that message.
I have only recently come upon Mary Oliver's poem "When Death Comes."  While she calls death a bear, measle-pox, and an iceberg, she appreciates its mystery:
"When death comes...
 I want to step through the door, full of curiosity, wondering."
Near the end of the poem the thought of dying makes her determined to make something of her life:
"When it's over, I want to say: all my life
 I was a bride married to amazement.
 I was a bridegroom, taking the world in my arms.
 When it's over, I don't want to wonder
 if I have made of my life something particular, and real.
 I don't want to find my self sighing and frightened
 or full of argument.
 I don't want to end up simply having visited this world."
Jesus makes it possible for us to carry into that other world all the amazement and beauty that we create in this world, and the merry life of the Trinity that we begin here.

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