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‘Glimmer of good’ is never far away

The Rev. Rebecca Taylor

We know it’s coming. The birds sing their signals. The sun makes a reappearance. The temperatures climb a notch above bitterly frigid. The seasons will change. We have come to trust the turning of this earthly orb. Winter will yield. Spring will come. New life will stir. And we will sigh with hopeful breath … behind our masks, of course!

Trusting this rhythm of the seasons lifts our spirits a tad. Most if not all of us yearn for the change. Out of the gray. Beyond the cold. Free from the layers. Shovels stored once more. We know it’s coming. It will be green and warm once more!

There are precious few anchors in our lives. We may grow numb to this reality if one day morphs into another and yet another all seeming to be much alike. We plod from predictable dawn to dependable dusk. But it only takes one disaster-filled day to jolt us awake again. One eventful evening to remind us in the rawest way of life’s seemingly randomness. There’s really not much we can absolutely depend upon.

We know it’s coming. Sometimes there are signals. Other times just a sudden appearance. Death stretches its icy-cold pall far and wide and not a single living being escapes. Life will end. We are, in our better moments, aware of this unpleasant turning. The body must yield. Death will come. What is beyond, no one really knows. We sigh with or without hope… behind our defensive shields, or course!

Our distrust of this vessel we inhabit burdens our spirits more than we care to admit. We resist changes. Color the gray! Deny the old! Hide behind more layers! Memories are stored somewhere we no longer recall. And we know it’s coming. Yet we avoid the thought that we’ll be dead and gone one day!

One of the most maddening aspects about death is its finality. It arrives and there’s no turning back. It comes — no matter how long and well anticipated — in a split second. Breath. Then no breath. Heartbeat. Then no heartbeat. Life. Then no life. And that’s it. And there’s nothing we can do about it. That, coupled with our painful grief over loss, makes death the unwelcome intruder in our experience on earth. Even though we know it’s coming.

We’re outraged by death’s disorderliness. Why such randomness? One spouse before another. And the one who handled the finances! And well before the age of Medicare! Sheer tragedy. And unthinkably a child before parents. Simply not right. And under the legal drinking age? Should never happen!

But happen it does. And we know it will come. It will come to one and all. It will come and there’s nothing we can do to avoid it. Delay it, yes. Dodge it, no. It’s staggering to consider that over 500,000 lives in our country have ended because of COVID-19. Over. Done. It almost doesn’t really matter whether the victim was 84 or 24. Life for that one irreplaceable human being is no more.

There are precious few anchors in our lives. This moment — that’s one. But it arrives so quickly and slips away without guaranteeing another in its wake. And then there’s hope. Which is something like a heartbeat. Sometimes strong, loud. Other times faint, irregular. But still there. Keeping life moving. Keeping us going. We don’t know for how long. Or even where. But going. And spring is coming. Change is afoot. Which means that in the thick of dismal news there’s always to be found a glimmer of good.

Rebecca Taylor is pastor at the First Presbyterian Church. She can be reached at rebecca@warrenfpc.org

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