I’ve heard it said before that all of life can be understood as BIRTH, DEATH, & RESURRECTION, for these are the three pillars of the spiritual life. In this season of Lent, I think they form a helpful frame in which to reflect and prepare. This is the second of three letters that focus on one pillar at a time as we prepare for holy week.
Nobody wants to talk about death. When we have to, we don’t really know how. It’s awkward and painful, full of tragedy and platitudes.
We cower from death’s power. We shudder at its finality.
And yet, it’s a universal experience. We all encounter death. We all must come to terms with it, whether it be losing a loved one or considering our own mortality.
We can be so fixated on Death with a capitol “D”, we often miss the smaller “deaths” that lead to growth.
Consider these words from Father Richard Rohr:
Death is not just the death of the physical body, but all the times we hit bottom and must let go of how we thought life should be and surrender to a Larger Power. And in that sense, we all probably go through many deaths in our lifetime. These deaths to the small self are tipping points, opportunities to choose transformation early. Unfortunately, most people turn bitter and look for someone to blame. So their death is indeed death for them, because they close down to growth and new life.
It’s true: We’re all going to die someday. But between now and our last breath, we will find plenty of opportunities to fall, hit bottom, let go, and surrender. These are the “many deaths” of which Rohr speaks. They can easily take us to a place of bitterness, which is truly a death of sorts. Or they can lead to growth; a new way of living. (But we’ll talk more about that next week).
We’re all dying. Where do our deaths take us?
Q: What death(s) are you currently experiencing that God may be calling you to let go and surrender?