"Dying, With Nothing to Say"
I finally sat down this afternoon to read the Sunday New York Times. In the Sunday Review section, there were several excellent articles. I commend them to you. "The Man the Founders Feared" and "How Will Trump Redecorate the White House?" are two that I found particularly interesting.
But the one that touched my heart was "Dying, With Nothing to Say." The author, Katie Roiphe, suggests that we are never able to say what we want to say when we are with someone we love who is dying. And it's not for the lack of time or the lack of trying. If I've cut and pasted correctly, the link above should get you to the article. If not, of course you can get to it the "old fashioned" way...google it!
But don't miss the last paragraph...
Part of the problem is that some silences are too wide to narrate. Words, even if the right ones miraculously presented themselves, would not be enough. The confession and forgiveness we want to fill the room do not spring up more naturally in extremis, under duress. It may be the last chance for the dying person to clarify, but clarity doesn’t necessarily come. In this way, death is a lot like life.
Because it is Holy Week, this article stirred up thoughts of what the disciples might have wanted to tell Jesus. What the Marys might have wanted to say...Herod, Pilate???
"The confession and forgiveness we want to fill the room do not spring up more naturally...it may be the last chance for the dying person to clarify, but clarity doesn't necessarily come..."
These truths about us were not truths about Jesus, because he was both human and Divine...his confessions and forgivenesses did fill the "room," and clarity did come.
Think of those Last Words...
"Father forgive them for they know not what they do.
My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?
It is finished.
Into your hands I commend my spirit."
For us, the silences may be too wide to narrate, but in Christ on the cross we have yet another example of the Divine bridging the gap between life and life eternal. We are not alone.
The words of St. Teresa of Avila come to mind...
Let nothing upset you, let nothing startle you. All things pass; God does not change. Patience wins all it seeks. Whoever has God lacks nothing: God alone is enough