Memorial Day weekend and the senior boys at my school climb Mt. Cardigan to watch the sun set.
It’s a tradition I love, as the lads marvel at the view, looking down at their school miles away, and remember. They hug and thank and laugh and cry, though they are apt to blame the last on wind in the eye.
It is a bittersweet time for all of us as we wait for the final gold to soften and run from the sky. To say good-bye.
I feel my own eyes fill with wind.
I read this morning that the Hebrew word for “wait” is almost identical to the word “mourn.” This makes sense, as our lads are stuck between readying to push off from the safe shore of our control, while, at the same time, lamenting all that they are about to lose.
I am stuck there myself.
This weekend will mark the sixth year since my son went home, and I feel a bit untethered. I disappear into the woods for a while, pick some ferns for his bench, think of his siblings.
Do they miss him as I do?
I dare not ask at times, lest they think I somehow love them less. In many ways, he was our glue, and we have had to find new ways of being ourselves.
To mourn is to wait.
Mary and Martha were siblings who lost their brother. They waited for Jesus to come, sending word, reminding him that his friend Lazarus lay sick.
But Jesus didn’t come, not until Lazarus was four days dead. And when Martha tells him that she believes there will be a one-day resurrection for her brother, Jesus tells her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?”
“Yes,” Martha replies, because she knows who he is.
We all know what happens next. Jesus tells Lazarus’s friends to roll away the stone of his tomb, and out he shuffles, feet wrapped in tangled linen.
I often wonder how Lazarus lived the rest of his life. Did his gratitude free him to serve and share with reckless abandon?
Why wouldn’t he?
And why shouldn’t we – add our yes to Martha’s yes and rest in what Oswald Chambers calls the glorious now? To “begin to know him now and never finish.”
It’s okay, I think, to mourn while we wait.
But I also want to live like Lazarus, recklessly grateful that we have someone to wait for.