On Being the Body of Christ
Whenever my brother, my father, and I would ask my mother what she wanted for her birthday, or Christmas, or Mother’s Day, she would respond with the same thing: “I just want to be with you guys.” She almost always meant that. Last year, she dropped several obvious hints that she wanted a pair of cherry red Converse. My brother and I purchased them for her, and she rocked them despite chemo-weakened legs.
I miss my mom terribly. I could drag this post out, wallowing in grief over the amount of memories that wash over me every time I walk into my home in San Antonio. I keep seeing memories from Timehop and Facebook about things that she texted me, pictures we took together, or pictures from my childhood that she posted, and I am struck by how quickly life happens. She was diagnosed in January of 2016, and by December she was dead. It happened so quickly.
A few days ago, I found out that a girl that I knew from high school had died. As I understand it, it was health related and very sudden. She was twenty years old. She and I weren’t very close, but I had known her since I was around 5 years old. She was a year younger than I. We and our siblings rode the bus to school together every day until we were able to drive. I have one memory if it being an abnormally cold winter day in Texas, and I bragged about how I didn’t need to wear a jacket outside. She called my bluff and challenged me to see who could stand outside the bus in the cold longer. I readily accepted, and we exited the bus. I stood there for maybe five minutes and conceded. She stayed there until the last possible second before the bus left.
Life is short. I don’t give a damn how cliché you think that is and it might be, but it doesn’t make it any less true. This girl I knew and my mother both were there one moment and in the next instant, entered eternity. Life is too short to hold grudges. Life is too short not to forgive. Life is too short not to hug someone. Life is too short not to take more pictures with your parents even when you really don’t want to. Life is too short not to love.
There are people who are around you who are hurting. They are broken, aching, crying, and hoping someone will pick them up. Sometimes it feels like no one is coming. When my mom died, there was a period of around a week where people were around. After her funeral, all but one disappeared. Friends that I have known since I was learning to tie my shoes vanished. Friends that promised to be there lied. I was and am hurting, and people were scared to help. Do not make the same mistake. Do not abandon your brothers and sisters to darkness, depression, and fear. We need you. I need you. Are we not family? Are we not bonded in Holy Baptism through the blood of Jesus Christ? You are my family, dear Christian.
Where will you be when tragedy strikes our family? Will you run like cowards, or will you sit and face the demons with those who have been shattered by this poisoned world? Will you forget yourself and love fiercely, even as Jesus forgot Himself, and laid His life down for us?
“When he had gone out, Jesus said, ‘Now is the Son of Man glorified, and God is glorified in him. If God is glorified in him, God will also glorify him in himself, and glorify him at once. Little children, yet a little while I am with you. You will seek me, and just as I said to the Jews, so now I also say to you, ‘Where I am going you cannot come.’ A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.’” John 13:31-35