Sunday, March 27, 2016

"Yes" in the face of "no"

I went to church today for the first time in ages.

I have a pretty consistent relationship with God and pray often in the form of an ongoing dialog. Today, though, is a holy day and I wanted to honor the relationship with something more formalized. So I headed off to service.

It wasn't my church, though. My church is under construction, has been for months and months and will continue to be for months and months more. The renovation is tricky because the structure is a landmark, and the materials and techniques used can't be those familiar to denizens of Home Depot. So in the interim, my minister has been holding services at the Lutheran church on the other side of town. I am grateful to that church community for opening its doors so generously to another faith -- what a kind and very Christian thing to do! -- but it's not the same.

Still, I'm glad I went. The sermon was very valuable to me. Our minister brought the tale of the Resurrection into our daily lives by calling it the eternal and most passionate "yes" ever in the face of "no." She reminded us that we all, unfortunately, have occasion to stare down "no" with optimism and love.

It was the not the message I expectedon Easter, for this was an imaginative spin I'd never heard before, but it was very good for me at this point in my life. When she talked about love, and how it's love that survives death, I surprised myself by reflexively touching the pew immediately to my right. For that is where my Joey would glue himself to my side. I miss that old tomcat so very much, and he was all about love. Even in his painful, dying moments, he literally reached out to me with affection.

Later I reached for the Atocha replica coin pendant I wore to church this morning. The Atocha was a ship that went down off the Florida Keys in the 17th century. My uncle was a student of that shipwreck and had an actual coin from treasure, worth thousands of dollars. I bought this little coin pendant when I was missing him during a holiday of my own in Key West. Anyway, why did I wear it today? I selected it for the way it looked against the neckline of the blouse I chose this morning. And yet during the sermon, I fingered it like a talisman. My uncle was a far from perfect man -- a distant father, a mercurial husband, a ruthless businessman. But he was my godfather and as good to me as he knew how to be. I've never known why he was as uncharacteristically kind and supportive to me as he was, but I've always been grateful. I miss him.

So Joey and Ted -- their love survives as a "yes" in the face of "no."

And right now, when my life feels so full of aches and pains -- loved ones who are ill, loved ones who are suffering, my own perplexing health -- I have to muster the positivity to face the ongoing no's. I can do it.


  1. Yes you can. And your faith can give you the strength and comfort to carry on.