I grow weary of walking this side of Heaven. I know I am made for eternity. But there are days when I feel the sting of mortality and am reminded of the anger within me which rages against the reality of the passage. The meaningless and randomness with which death comes in light of an all knowing and loving God. I squirm with sadness, and seek understanding for things I do not understand.
It’s these moments that interrupt and erupt into full blown confrontations with a God who is not to be completely grasped this side of Heaven.
I am driving back form a trip to the market, my Great Pyrenees-Retriever-Shepherd mix of a mutt is in the back seat because he can’t stand to see me leave the house without him. I am deep in thought about the madness of keeping within a grocery budget and feeling the usual disgust at my lack in this area. He sticks his nose between the seats and watches the road with me.
We are on the two-laned road heading south toward areas that used to be fertile hunting grounds for Native Americans in Narragansett. Rich with history and wildlife, our coastal area teems with life that is pushed, squeezed and pressed against the brink of death daily. It is no surprise that in these times of metal that carries men instead of horses, these worlds collide. I am not one who despises modern conveniences. I am one who is carried in metal myself, travelling to and fro in a whizzing world of frenzied activity. But I am not blind to the ever encroaching ignorance that would blind us to the ordinary commonalities shared by all living creatures. Life, death, pain, kindness, suffering, gentleness. I have already been contemplating deep things this day and wrestling out meanings with God about life and meaning am already frustrated before… I see it.
I come around the corner and see the fur in the road, not so uncommon. Lord, why?
I hate that I see what no-one else seems to see.
Why won’t they stop, Lord?
Then it gets worse.
It’s all so fast. I have cars on on three sides.
Speeding metal all round.
The small dog like figure lies dead center of the two lanes.
There is a barrier and two lanes going North on the other side.
With a surprising accuracy that I wish I did not have (everyone else does not seem to notice),
I see the small head raise up.
I am full of an uprising that will not be stopped.
I have pulled over, and suspect it is a small coyote.
I am in the breakdown lane on the verge of a breakdown of epic proportions.
My mind is racing at 90 miles an hour.
Dozens of cars speed by as I am trapped feeling helpless and holding my phone, trying to think of what to do and am slipping into a maddening state as I began to hear my own screams erupt.
I am shouting for someone to stop!
He’s alive. Please help.
I am madness, and death is hovering over a small wild creature when I witness the pick up truck that seals the deal with a final blow. I move into hysteria. My faithful companion, howls with me and barks out the window looking back as we watch the frail body contort into a merciful state, released from pain.
My surge of adrenaline and emotion merge into a weeping nauseousness and whimper.
My dog is quiet.
I am staring at my phone and remembering,
this familiar rage…and helplessness.
The time when I had walked in my East Side apartment after laying my grand mother to rest.
I climbed the stairs. All 52 of them. A slow, dreadful ascent.
I closed the door in my solitary place. Leaned my back up against it and slowly slid down onto the floor and wept. I screamed so loud, into the darkness, I am surprised that someone did not call the police, as I raged against death, heaven and earth and the God who made all. How for three days I ranted and railed and cried and wailed. That God would allow the one person I knew for sure loved me to be taken from this life. Helpless. That life would go on. Rage. That was the clincher; it infuriated me, raised up in me a guttural voice of anguish I did not recognize. The audacity and cruelty more than anything, was that the days would go on, just as they had before, yet they would never be the same. And I believed, they should not. Go on that is. That all of heaven and earth should stop and acknowledge this loss. It was maddening and is still maddening to me.
It birthed in me a longing to be reconciled to God.
My longing was for victory over death,
that ultimate sting.
A way through.
A release from the pain and madness of this life.
From that which will never be reconciled this side of Heaven.
Freedom from the driven- ness that permeated my days.
All in a futile attempt to run faster than the moment none can escape.
Yet, there is a way.
God is so merciful.
We can’t fathom the depth of His mercy.
Some days I hide behind His robe.
Other days I seek His face.
Then there are days when the only way I can see clearer, is by looking full well at the Cross.
So I take hold and look up, seeing bloodstained feet.
Feeling the sweat, blood and tears spill out on me.
Hanging on tight to that which defies all logic and reason, yet brings wholeness and healing.
I don’t get it.
Still, I cling to this mercy.
And I rage against death and all that would crowd out His holiness and sacrificial love.
And I trust that there is a beautiful mercy even in the most twisted ugliness, because He has appeared.
Dead dogs don’t cry and neither will I, when we walk through the gates, where all things will be clearly seen through eyes unstained. He shall wipe every tear. He will give perfect vision.
He will pull back the curtain of the moments in our life that made no sense and show mercies displayed we never saw, but that mattered to us. And Him.
Because it all matters to Him who has given everything.
Joining with Emily and Prodigal Magazine for this, my offering-
A Broken Hallelujah today…will you consider joining in?