Earth to Earth, Ashes to Ashes, and a New Normal
“My parents live in Bonney Lake.”
I was talking with someone recently who had a general knowledge of western Washington. They had friends or family or something who lived in Enumclaw or Maple Valley, which is near Bonney Lake.
So, of course, during the conversation, I mentioned that my parents live in Bonney Lake, and it's always nice to talk with someone who knows the geography of where you're from.
I don't remember exactly, but I want to say this conversation happened about three or four weeks ago; which is significant for this.
Sometime after that conversation it occurred to me that my parents do not live in Bonney Lake. My parent lives in Bonney Lake. My mom lives in Bonney Lake. My dad died on March 27.
In the big picture I know that we all die. Death is part of the business of being a priest. Earth to earth, ashes to ashes, dust to dust. For to your faithful people, O Lord, life is changed, not ended. And my dad had suffered from COPD for several years. I watched from afar as his quality of life continued to deteriorate, barely able to walk from the living room to the bathroom, continually tied to an oxygen tank, spending all his time in the recliner because he couldn't breathe while laying down and couldn't move very far because he could barely breathe while walking. Add to all of that his more frequent hospital visits and, in the end, death became a blessing.
That's not to say I'm glad my dad died. But there is a relief that comes at the end of suffering when you believe someone has arrived at a place of peace. My faith tells me that he is resting with the saints, where sorrow and pain are no more, neither sighing, but life everlasting.
That is what I believe.
But there are days when not everything has sunk in. There are days when you haven't yet fit a death into your normal operating system. That conversation was one of those days.
At some point I'll remember that my parents don't live in Bonney Lake – my mom lives in Bonney Lake. And no matter what my faith tells me, that is a hard adjustment to make.
I am Resurrection and I am Life, says the Lord. Whoever has faith in me shall have life, even though he die.