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Thursday, August 8, 2013

Hallelujah


I am a Christian. In first grade we were at recess one day. I was in line to climb the monkey bars. I had just dropped from the rings and landed wrong such that I came slamming down on the potato sized 'tan bark'; that's what we called it. The rip in the knees of my hand-me-down jeans (with double cuffs so that they fit) got even larger. No blood, so on to the next gravity testing device. The girl behind me asked what religion I was. I responded, "I am a Christian." Later, I understood that I was also a Mormon and was sub-categorized as to the type of Christian that I was. Later, in High School, I was ridiculed by teachers and students alike for being the wrong kind of Christian, or for believing in God at all. Through all this I felt in my heart that monikers don't matter. I always knew that God was there and that He loved me.
As Mormons we tend to express our faith quietly and feel our exhilaration inwardly. Our hallelujahs are in our hymns while our amens remain in our prayers. While in Connecticut, new members to our faith would often express their emotions in our meetings with the language to which they were accustom. Praise the Lord and Praise God would be loudly heard. I often wished that I had the courage to do the same. But my culture was different.
Today has been a really good day. My health score is 98.6. It started with a visit to a friend whose father miraculously recovered from a deadly brain cancer four years ago. But now it is coming back. We spoke of life and death, faith and hope, and ultimately we arrived at that unanswerable question, "why do some live while others die?" This is a hard question. Two soldiers in war: one dies one survives. Two teens in a car accident; two patients with the same disease. All were being prayed for. What does this mean to the faith of those praying? Why is it essential that we require cause and effect for all outcomes, whether good or bad? Then come the theological non sequiturs. "Why did God actively cause this death?" "Why did God passively allow this death?" and finally, "God is cruel, so I will reject Him." I truly do not understand these sentiments as they go against everything that I understand about this world and God. Bad things happen for both random and human controlled reasons. God understands and supports us thereby allowing us to then respond in a way that teaches us who we really are and what we are capable of. To do otherwise would rob us of our true purpose for existence. Yet, there are also times when we feel His influence leading us to miraculous moments. I do not now nor likely ever will understand why these outcome differences exist. I defer to His wisdom.
Then one day a few weeks ago I realized that I had it backwards. Death is not a curse, it is a blessing. Well, maybe not to the individual dying, rather to our world as a whole. Imagine, for a minute, a world in which there was no death. What would it be like? What defines a cancer cell? It is a cell that never dies; it is immortal. This would be fine if the cell was also perfect. On the contrary, these cells are corrupted. They do bad and unnatural things. It would be the same with immortal humans. They would remain selfish and vengeful. When the space and resources eventually ran low the stronger, more clever and cunning ones would subjugate and contain the rest for eternity. It would be hell on earth. Immortality only works with perfected souls.
In life we fulfill our purpose. In death we move on. It is the loved that remain who feel the pain. This may be why we choose not to talk about death; yet it is not a failure of faith rather its fulfillment.
Barbie commented this evening that she has noticed that my health has significantly improved over the last few months, even on chemotherapy. She is right. I feel wonderful most of the time. I tried to think of a reason why I am doing so well. My logic remained vacant. All I was left with was the strong feeling to consider God's continuing miracles in my life.

Praise God! Hallelujah! Amen and amen.

Kevin

3 comments:

Kristin said...

Your posts are always so worthwhile and thought provoking for me. We really miss you guys! Can't wait to crack your book!

Kristin said...
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Tracy said...

Thanks for sharing and I pray for your friend and you. I'm almost 6 months out from losing dad and there is a lot of peace in knowing that he died peacefully; it was important to him. We had many lengthy discussions after he was diagnosed with Amyloidosis about death and life. All lives on Earth must end and the bible explains it well. I am a Christian; raised Baptist, converted to Catholocism, and now attending a non denominational community church. The changes in where I worship all are made according to the needs of the people I love. I converted to Catholicism when I married my husband. We started attending a non-denominational church to support my father. We moved to our current church when dad was immunosupressed and we could sit in the bleachers away from the crowd. We stay there because the kids like the children's programming and My Aunt feels comfortable there too. In all these changes; I appreciate your thoughts about faith. Thanks again for sharing; I love your blog.