Breaking Free

College Church member Dan Haase writes about death and resurrction this Good Friday. (Dan first posted this on his blog, Gathering Wonder.)

Twenty-five years ago today my mother died.  "36 years young," as my father wrote in her obituary. It happened on Easter Sunday that year, or better stated: Resurrection Sunday.  

through broken soil

what was not there yesterday 


Earlier this week, I came across the following simple and yet profound illustration provided by Henri Nouwen in his book, Our Greatest Gift: A Meditation on Dying and Caring.

Recently, a friend told me a story about twins talking to each other in the womb. The sister said to the brother, "I believe there is life after birth." Her brother protested vehemently, "No, no, this is all there is. This is a dark and cozy place, and we have nothing else to do but to cling to the cord that feeds us." The little girl insisted, "There must be something more than this dark place. There must be something else, a place with light where there is freedom to move." Still she could not convince her twin brother. After some silence, the sister said hesitantly, "I have something else to say, and I am afraid you won't believe that, either, but I think there is a mother." Her brother became furious. "A mother!" he shouted. "What are you talking about? I have never seen a mother, and neither have you. What put that idea in your head? As I told you, this place is all we have. Why do you always want more? This is not such a bad place, after all. We have all we need, so let's be content." The sister was quite overwhelmed by her brother's response and for a while didn't dare to say anything more. But she couldn't let go of her thoughts, and since she had only her twin brother to speak to, she finally said, "Don't you feel these squeezes every once in a while? They're quite unpleasant and sometimes even painful." "Yes," he answered. "What's special about that?" "Well," the sister said, "I think that these squeezes are there to get us ready for another place, much more beautiful than this, where we will see our mother face-to-face. Don't you think that is exciting?" The brother didn't answer. He was fed up with the foolish talk of his sister and felt that the best thing would be simply to ignore her and hope that she would leave him alone.

open palms ⎯ 

in the dark before dawn 


I have found a difference between being grateful for something and being grateful in something. My mother's death was a great pain in my life and even these many years later it looms large as a backdrop to my play. There is no gratitude for her loss. However, I have learned to be grateful in the loss and that has made all the difference. My mother gave me two of my greatest gifts: first, she gave me life; second, she gave me her death. Both of these together have caused the last quarter century to be full with meaning.  

sunrise ⎯ 

in the garden 

on my knees 

Psalm 116