“The earth dries up and withers, the world languishes and withers, the heavens languish with the earth.” Isaiah 24:4 NIV
More and more clearly it seems to me, life is about transformation from one kind of wholeness to another. And the road that lies between the two is brokenness. For life that begins at all, mostly comes through pain and chaos into a kind of perfection. New born babies, flowers as they first open, nestlings hatching, there is something about newness, youth, beginnings, that is flawless. No blemishes, no wounds, no lost petals to damage their symmetry. But this does not last long. My cat’s once perfect pink nose is now latticed with several scars hard won in garden skirmishes. My skin is not perfect and smooth any more (I recently tried to remove a loose eyelash with tweezers only to heartbreakingly discover it was a wrinkle), and the faultless pink gerbera in the vase that I gaze on now in wonder, will be wilting and decaying soon enough.
But the resurrection we witness also in nature and in the coming and going of the seasons tells us that there is something else afoot. And Jesus lived this out for us, to help even the densest among us begin to understand. Pain is temporary, even if it lasts an earthly lifetime. Death is not the end result. Suffering is a road, not a destination. People are fond of saying that about happiness, but we rarely see the other side of the coin, which is more encouraging for those of us already having a hard time. What we are going through means something, it is a path, a way, a becoming. The via dolorosa is part of the pilgrimage, not where we are headed. The Road to Emmaus is trudged by us all as we walk to a place of enlightenment and revelation, it is not the place we end up.
Photo from Morguefile.com