I was reading John 11 recently, and grappling with some of the narrative of Jesus bringing Lazarus back to life after he died from an illness. I’ve had my share of questions about this story, and I think there’s a lot I don’t understand about it, but one thing in particular stood out to me.
Jesus travels to the town of this man who died, and his two sisters (Martha and Mary). When conversing with the sisters, they both say the same thing to him- “Lord, if you had been here, my brother wouldn’t have died.”
To Martha, he says, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die.”
And then, with Mary, he weeps.
I’m positive there’s a complexity to this interaction that I haven’t grasped yet. But what I do see, is Jesus expressing two honest sentiments at the same time.
I’ve been learning that real life exists within several layers of complexity. There is rarely just one side or one emotion. There’s a depth there- an opportunity as we move along, each on our own journey, to simultaneously grasp different facets of an experience. Life isn’t just one thing. It’s not just happy. It’s not just confusing, or difficult. Or whatever. It’s not just. Most of the time, it’s and. At least, that’s where I’m at now.
I’m actually not speaking of life in general, but of each experience we come across. More and more, I’m coming to notice and to acknowledge the and in the events and experiences of my life. It’s so difficult to dwell in the and. How can I simultaneously acknowledge the pain of Sean’s absence in my life, and the peace of knowing he is with Jesus?
It’s tempting to want to reside in one place or the other. It’s easier to either feel the intense pain or the comforting peace.
There’s a tension, and a freedom, in acknowledging the honesty of both sides of my experience. Together. And.
A definite loss exists in my move to the apartment I’m now in- I deeply experienced the ‘letting go’ of the life I was supposed to have, as well as the excitement of new possibilities in my life.
Loss and newness.
There are too many emotions in the last nine months to recount here. But, I know that this is a truth I will grasp for the rest of my life, and continue to acknowledge in the experiences I encounter.
Love and sorrow.
Growth and exhaustion.
Loss and freedom.
Confusion and comfort.
Fear and vulnerability and beauty.
It’s difficult to dwell in the tension. But the honesty is freeing.