Starting to reflect on a robin.

“The robin, sitting under the bird feeder,” Nancy said. I had asked her for a starting point for this post. She pointed to the robin. She knew that I was feeling weary.

As I said in my Easter message, many people on this Easter have a tension, a struggle, a battle in their hearts.This is their Easter proclamation: Christ is risen. My loved one is dead. That is a statement of truth. And attendant to that truth are experiences of grief and disbelief, aloneness and ache. I’ve been walking with several of those people in recent weeks.

I want to make an odd suggestion to help us in the ache of memory after the shock of sudden death. It starts with, “Don’t cling to hopes.”

hang on. i gotta get a straight faceWe cling to the stories of people being healed and it doesn’t work for us and we are dissatisfied. We cling to the stories of people being forgiven, of families suddenly working, and it doesn’t happen and we are dissatisfied. We cling to the stories of Jesus raising people from the dead and it doesn’t happen for us and we are disillusioned.

So here’s my complete suggestion: “Don’t cling to hopes, cling to the one who gives hope.”

The resurrected Jesus that Mary held onto in the garden.Take your questions to God. Picture him in the garden if it helps, mistaken for the gardener: “God, why did they die? Why didn’t you stop it? What do you want me to do? How can I go on?”

Ask those questions, from deep in your soul. With Habakkuk, feel free to say, “I will stand at my watch and station myself on the ramparts; I will look to see what he will say to me, and what answer I am to give to this complaint.”

Understand that we may not get the answers we want. But, Jesus says, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”

And the robin? The robin reminded me to look outside my own head, to consider the birds of the field that God cares for.