It took hours of 4-wheeling, a motorcycle trip and church to get last week put somewhere safe in my head. I didn’t truly feel like “myself” until last evening after some projects were finished around the house and I climbed into bed.
In church on Sunday, I still wasn’t quite right. Everyone came up to me, telling me how much they “liked” my stories. I actually got a book from the library and read it at a table by myself during coffee hour because I just couldn’t talk to anyone about it. Weird? Yeah, probably. (The verdict was guilty on all counts, by the way.)
During the motorcycle trip, I was mostly alone in my thoughts under my helmet. Our group was made up entirely of EMS and police officers with the exception of this girl. Early on, we came upon stopped traffic — a line of cars with drivers watching in horror as an injured deer stumbled across the highway on two broken legs. I asked the cops in my group, all armed, if they could do something about it, but the deer was moving fast enough that any attempt to put it down could have been dangerous or resulted in a disturbing sight to motorists of armed men in biker gear running off into the woods. As we rolled away, I said a prayer for a speedy death for God’s creature, and my mind, of course, went back to what I saw last week.
And I thought about a passage in the catechism book I read:
The entrance to paradise is closed, for if man tasted of the tree of life after tasting of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, evil would become eternal. Therefore death is both a result of the Fall and, at the same time, a remedy against evil. It prevents evil from becoming eternal.
Can you imagine if we didn’t die? Forget the grief death brings for just a second and think about living forever in this place — where we find new ways to hurt each other every single day and where we are ourselves are hurt in new ways nearly as often. We are like that deer, stumbling across the highway, confused and broken.
I know, this is depressing, but I don’t mean it to be. The analogy breaks down a bit because unlike the deer, which has no remedy but death, we know that we have new life in Christ. The wise Fr. Stephen said on his blog this weekend that Christ did not die to make bad men good. He died to make dead men live. Eventually our physical wounds will take our lives and earthly suffering ends for us. There will be no more plastic-tub-baby-coffins or cancer or molesting. Those things add to our spiritual deadness.
More from the book:
Sin came into the world through one man and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all have sinned (Rom. 5:12). But we have hope of salvation, hope of returning to the Tree of Life.
There is a way back across.