Resurrection: From Death to Life
By Susan Oxley of Renton, WA, USA
I will make a covenant of peace with them; it shall be an everlasting covenant with them; and I will bless them and multiply them, and will set my sanctuary among them forevermore. My dwelling place shall be with them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. -Ezekiel 37:26-27 NRSV
My husband Ron was diagnosed with terminal cancer a year and a half after we married. He lay in the hospital unaware of his surroundings, waiting for surgery. I sat beside him, shadowed by death and despair. The injustice and grief overwhelmed me.
Ron survived the surgery, and a month later he began chemotherapy. The medical profession had “miracle drugs” to combat the cancer and sustain life for another two years. But Ron and I needed a different kind of miracle. We needed to learn how to live with the sentence of death.
Daily resurrection was the answer. Each morning we were grateful for another day of life together. Each walk in the woods and each encounter with the grandchildren became a gift of new life. We celebrated new recipes that enticed Ron’s waning appetite. We planned trips, never knowing which one might be our last. Some we accomplished. Several, toward the end of Ron’s life, had to be canceled, but we remembered the joy of planning them.
The schedule of treatment became not only a way of life, but a way of new life. Each new medication brought hope, even though we knew the cancer would find a way around it. The doctors and nurses became good friends whom we supported just as they supported us. We formed a support community that kept us going.
Resurrection comes every day, in little ways: a smile, shared laughter, a gentle embrace that is the only thing left when life is ending. Resurrection accompanies death. As Ron lay dying, I whispered to him, “You can let go. You will move from our love into God’s love. There is nothing to fear, because God is with you. And because God is with you, to receive you in death, it is a sacred moment.” I believe Ron heard and let go. Then I had to begin a new journey of personal resurrection…once again.
Spirit, now live in me.
Breathe deeply and enter a few minutes of silence. Be attentive to where you sense new life emerging in you. Search your memories of the previous day. When did you notice the sacredness of life in surprising places or forms in the world around you?
Today’s Prayer for Peace
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