We were not created for death.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Our hearts weren't made for death.

We were never meant to come into contact with it. Our souls were created before the Fall, before Adam ever tended a field or Eve knelt beside her dead son's tomb. We were designed for communion, for relationship, for life to flow in and through and all around us. We were made for green sprigs and first birthdays and falling in love. That is our truest home. We were not created with death in mind.

Is it any wonder, then, that grief would be so exhausting? That touching death in any way would produce so much anxiety and fear? When it enters our lives, even for a moment, we are forced to do something unnatural. The weight of it draws us away from our true selves. Our common reactions - disbelief, anger, withdrawal, fear - are the opposite of who we really are, because we must process this awful thing we were never intended to face.

I've thought about this often since bumping into death several weeks ago. I can't remember what I used to do before that moment. I don't know how we filled our days or what used to feel important. Instead, I wander around my house, wishing for just one more quiet moment (never mind the one I just had). Dishes sit on the counter for days, toys line the halls. I crash into bed every night, doze through my alarm every morning, wake up at odd times in between. Because I was not created for death.

So I went out to the woods. As I walked, I heard a phrase: the Gospel is written on our hearts. I've heard it for years, but I don't think I've fully understood the depth of that truth until now. The Gospel is not about my sin. It's about being reunited with God - about finding communion and love and hope, about being freed from this weight of death, and restored to who I was created to be.

I thought about the concept of giving life. We are made in the image of God, and as a result we have this ability to create alongside Him, to either ripple out life or destruction into the world around us. We can only give what we have received. As we receive life from God, we have life to give to others.

So what do you do when you have devoted yourself to giving life, but every time you close your eyes, death is all you can see?

I didn't know either. So out in the green and the sunshine, I cried out to God. You are the source of life, I prayed. But now I've seen death, and I don't know what to do next. I don't know how to redirect my heart. You've given me this huge job to do. I'm supposed to be nourishing and offering life to these little people. But all I want is to hide from them, because I have nothing left to give. After seeing death, how do I turn toward life again?

I don't say this often or lightly, but that afternoon, God answered. Go write, God said.

When we are creative, we are most aware of God. Creativity is bigger than art. Some people create peace by bringing order and routine to chaos. Some create by building, by listening, by comforting, by healing, by cooking. But in one way or another, we all create something. And when we create, life runs through us. When we create, we tap into the Source of all life again.

I've been stumbling around for weeks, carrying a weight never intended for me and waiting for God to show up. Only God has been with me all the time. He never left. By turning back to the habit of creating, I am also turning away from death, and once again turning toward the Creator of life Himself.

1 comment:

  1. What a powerful post Stephanie! Keep creating for you, too, are helping people see their Creator again in different and powerful ways.



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