I wept as I listened to James Blunt’s song, Monsters, about his ailing father. He sings about the universal exchange of place that occurs as a parent’s health fails.
Brushing bangs gently away from eyes with a caress as tender as the one once used on newborn infant. Applying Chapstick to parched lips before promising to return to the hospital one more time. Always one more time.
A friend of mine once told me that the loss of her grandparents, and then her parents, had felt like the layers of an onion slowly being peeled away. This unmerciful undressing of the soul in its exposure to the elements of time. I hadn’t experienced yet what she was saying but I recognized the truth of it.
And as I continue to listen to his lyrics, I am drawn to its simple confession of knowing another even as I am known. A mercy is exposed that always draws me to itself. A humility of love that seeks to bring relief not accusation. A gentle reminder that we all have feet of dust.
I keep listening only disagreeing with one point, I don’t know that it will be me turning out the light. Maybe my life will be one handspan, maybe two, or it may be required tomorrow.
I’ve seen friends walk through the harrowing loss of a child. Another criss cross. And even though as Christians we believe that Christ has upended death the finality of feeling, no, knowing, that this simply is not right is delineated by the grief of such deep pain.
And a whisper reminds me that death was never supposed to be part of the natural order. That the orderly death of preceding generations passing before the younger and which is generally accepted was never meant to be. In the pre-apple days there was no death. No wonder we label it myth. No wonder.
The Father enters in to rescue, as Son, and brings death to death. Criss cross, Christ’s cross. I try to imagine it. A world without grief and pain. Banished of all monsters, Mr. Blunt. This is what Jesus has promised, He wills to leave the light on.
9 I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. 10 The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.