Last week our border collie endured a major oral surgery as the result of having shattered a back tooth chewing on … no one is sure what, and she’s not “fessing up!” So in the span of less than one year, two priests and a dog have undergone major medical procedures. (I alone was not put under general anesthesia – I got to watch them fix the access to my heart in “real time.”)
The past year has been a reminder that all our assumptions about being “healthy” are so foolish. The older we get, the longer the time on life’s path, the more chance (or inevitability) that we break down. So the eyes don’t focus as they did, and the hearing can be (selectively?) spotty. The back plays games and the legs can no longer speed us through the city blocks (or country miles) we used to run. Even now, as Abby fights off the effects of the pain killing medication intended to help her feel better, she tries so hard to do things with that machine of a body that Borders possess, but simply cannot – at least for the time being. And what is done efficiently, by the dog or her doggie “mommy” or “daddy,” is slower and still Advil driven.
“When I wore a younger man’s clothes…” (to quote the great Billy Joel), the feast of the Lord’s Resurrection was a matter of faith, but it never carried any personal message. We believe, as Christians, that Christ has overcome death. Such is Easter. All well and good. But what about me?
Now each Easter’s liturgy brings more than a reminder to acknowledge the most important tenet of the Nicene Creed. It reminds me that as I (and all those who journey through life with me: those I love and those I serve, and even she who races on all fours and would spend the day rounding up sheep) move closer to the end of allotted time here, there is that promise for those of us who keep faith that there is “more” and there is “wonderful” beyond the termination of bodily health and life. There truly is existence beyond existence. “I believe in the resurrection and the life of the world to come.” My faith affirms this. My breaking body waits in hope! Such is truly part of the beauty of this feast!
– Fr. Joe