Sunday, April 01, 2018

Easter, Jesus and The Boy Who Was Me

That Jesus rose again has never, for me, been the miracle of Easter. I know that it's a big deal of course, how's that for understatement. But as a young boy, who's fat was seen but who's gay heart was only guessed at, who suffered at the hands of bullies, who had his soul cut on the sharp edge of hateful words, I couldn't imagine, for a second, why he'd want to.

Why would he want to rise again into a world that inflicted pain and violence upon him? A world that spat at him. A world wherein he could have been saved but wasn't. A world wherein those the knew him and loved him denied knowing him. Why would he want to come back? Why didn't he just crawl into his father's lap and say, "No, more, I've had enough?"

When I was a boy, I had a much stronger faith than I do now. Then I saw the church as a place where I could experience the love of God, the welcome my faith provided me at the table of God, the idea that heaven was meant for me. This gave me great comfort. On my way home, at night, in the dark, I would stop in front of the United Church and give the cub scout salute, the most reverent thing I could think to do.

After a particularly brutal event at school I thought, for the first, not the last, time of suicide. That being me was too much burden for a young boy to carry. I felt that I had been given this body, and this heart, to navigate through life. I hated one and worried about the other, I won't tell you which was which. In a moment of despair, I thought it would be simpler to simply stop. Being, for me, had always been a fragile thing, why not just let it break?

I had a plan, I'd always had a plan, after the first 'fatso' or 'lardass' or 'pigface', I don't remember which, I had a plan. Death as the ultimate aspirin that would take the pain away forever. But as I sat on the side of my bed pondering my own death, my thoughts turned to heaven,  I thought about the mansions and realized, I didn't care about the housing or the streets of gold, I just cared that I'd never, ever, ever, be called those names again. I just cared that my heart would not be discovered, even though the names had already started on that front.

Then, I thought of Jesus, I thought of his death. I thought of those that mocked him and those that hurt him and those who tortured him. I knew that my own experience with social violence came no where near in comparison, but I was imaginative enough to sense the pain of rejection that he must have felt. And then I wondered why.

Why would he rise again?

Why would he want to?

What about the world called him back?

I might have different answers to these questions now, but then, it was a simple answer. He came back because he wasn't done. He came back because what other's did to him would not end his journey. He came back because there was more love to be had, more love to be shared and it would be him, not others, who determined the end of the story.

He wouldn't give up his ending into the hands of others.

And that thought, that idea, saved my life that night.  

5 comments:

Sandra Fleming said...

Thank you. Right now that is all I can say - a very Heartfelt Thank You.

szera said...

It is difficult to respond with these tears running like a river. I feel so aligned with your thoughts and sentiments ... my version(s) of 'why's and wherefores'. Thank you for sharing ... if one ... only one person is touched ... feels like someone understands; well that would be a 1. and if one person is touched ... only one ... inspired to give life one more day to make such soul rendering decisions; well that is not only a 2., ... it is an example of everything you just shared and why 'He' returned. I have shared "you" with friends and clients ... suggested strangers find you on Google/FB. I will always be deeply grateful for your courage ... honesty ... example. God Bless (you and Joe)

Jayne Wales said...

That was immensely heartbreaking and hopeful at the same time
A very touching but perfect Easter message if the very hope I hold in my heart from those very early teachings
I could never bear the story of such brutality and I have stuudyed the man and the Deity
The man was a true fighter for the poor and disenfranchised
You give people that hope too everyday in your teachings and actions Dave
God bless you xx

clairesmum said...

The world is a better place with you in it, Dave. The power of love is beyond our human understanding.

Melanie said...

This is such beautiful writing about such exquisite pain. A friend sent this to me because she knows I'm in the process of returning to practicing my childhood faith after so many years away, and it struck so many chords in my heart. I can't say that I know exactly what I "believe" at this point (this seems to be the question that all of my friends and family are asking upon hearing the news of my return to the church... "Do you really believe _____?") My answers are tentative, uncertain.

But thus far in life I've learned to trust the palpable nature of truth. Truth is something you can feel. It has a texture, a physical effect on your body. Contemplating the story of Jesus's death and suffering, what feels true all the way down to my bones is this: if Christ represents the union of full humanity and full divinity, both at once, then the cross is the moment when God themselves joins us humans in our humiliation, our suffering, our experiences as outsiders and rejects of society, and (particularly resonant for my heart at this time) even in our despair and alienation from God themselves. If I can come to believe in Christ crucified, then I will come to know that in the precise moments when I feel abandoned by God, when I feel most despised, hated, and unloveable, I am joined by Christ in the great paradox... That maybe, just as in that astonishing moment when Jesus cries out "My God, why have you abandoned me?" somehow, The Divine is always already with me, even in the times when I feel most alone.