St. Thomas a Becket


The price of love

As Spring is almost sprung, despite the recent snow we have snowdrops, daffodils and budding trees. You might expect the vicar to start going on about new life and things like that, but this month I actually find myself thinking about grief.

Several of my friends have friends and family who have died recently, and I find myself reflecting on how the seven years since my mother died have passed so quickly and so slowly at the same time.

Not long after my mother died, a matter of weeks, my Dad (who was estranged from my Mum for many years) asked me if I was over her death. He got quite a short answer from me that it wasnít like that. He asked what he could do to make things easier; I asked him to sort through his belongings and get rid of the junk. He didnít. When he died in 2016 it took my eldest brother hundreds of hours to sort through my Dadís belongings, which began with a fortnightís search, all day, every day, for his will.

In the past few days I have been speaking to the son of a recently deceased hoarder. I was able to sympathise with true empathy.

I was at a talk recently where someone quoted Dr Jonas Salk: ĎOur greatest responsibility is to be good ancestors.í I was really struck by that. What do we want to be our legacy? Memories of hours spent trawling through things? Or instead memories of time well spent, investment in the future generations and so on?

We have our responsibilities. One of my hopes is not to emulate my parents in their acquisition of stuff, but instead to clear things out, even if that means probably starting now to clear things away.

This Spring as we move through Lent towards Easter we hold these two things in our hands: grief and hope. They are important things and we must balance them in our own lives. When we get to Easter the Christians celebrate that there is new hope in Jesus, new life and joy that Jesus has the power over death. This might make Jesus seem like a superhero, but we remember that Jesus, fully human, also wept with those mourning the death of their friend.

When we lived in Wellington I led two funeral services a week and I had to think about the theological puzzle of life and death. Christians believe that each human is created as an individual eternal being. We believe that, for God places us on earth for only a short time Ė it must be important, or why would he bother?

Perhaps this little quote has a clue:

Grief never ends, but it changes. Itís a passage, not a place to stay. Grief is
not a sign of weakness, nor lack of faith. It is the price of love. (Anon)