Elvis Presley put it this way in his 1962 hit song, didn’t he?
“Return to sender. Address unknown. No such person. No such zone.”
But that is not exactly how I felt yesterday when I opened mail from the magazine, Birds and Blooms, mailed to my mother at this address. Mother has been deceased for 20 months now. But the magazine was offering her a greatly discounted subscription.
I will not venture a guess as to what level of consciousness or awareness the dead possess right now; what they can see, fathom, or feel in the great beyond. Hades, the unseen realm, holds mysteries I have yet to understand with much clarity (although the story in Luke 16 seems to indicate there is keen awareness). But I suspect that if mother wants to read Birds and Blooms in her present location she can get a rate far better than the one offered down here.
I cannot imagine her not reading. She was an avid reader. And she loved beauty.
Unlike the woman described in Elvis’s unrequited love song, however, I will not return the mail to its sender saying, “Address unknown.” And I will not state, “No such person. No such zone.”
I know her address (I am sure a designation of general delivery is adequate); I know there is, indeed, such a person. And I know there is a zone in which she now lives (even though the exact zip plus four may not be available). At any rate, Dad is there with her, and . . . he used to work for the post office years ago, so . . . they’ll get their mail.
Passover began this week. And Easter is almost upon us.
And although I am careful not to make this blog one in which I deal with many spiritual matters (if you are interested in my attempt at honestly discussing spiritual matters, please see http://www.thegodstory.wordpress.com), there are times when the overlap is hard to avoid.
In a few days we will hide plastic eggs in our yard, and our 3 year old grandson (along with our grown and married children) will hunt for them. Then we will be joined by other family members, eat a delightful breakfast (intentionally not avoiding nitrates for a change), and celebrate resurrection.
Now here is where some of my readership may be tempted to “click” off this site, and move on. But I hope you do not. Because my intentions are far from intrusive. Let me explain what I mean.
Every year at this time we witness the rebirth of plants: trees blooming, flowers budding, grass sprouting. The pollen which frustrates so many of us plants itself all over everything in hopes that there will be a chance at germination, and new life. Our word “spring” is a reflection of this resurrection motif; that which appears to be dead and lifeless now gushes, surges, blossoms into living color.
Right now the dogwoods are in full bloom, and the azaleas are dazzling. I am particularly fond of the redbuds. Petunias will make their debut, and countless plants of astounding beauty (like the rose, the hyacinth, the iris) will enthrall us with their matchless visages.
In the moments when I can lower the handkerchief from my face, take off the mask that protects me from pollen . . . I am undone. Impressive is hardly forceful enough. Flabbergasted may come close. Astounded. Enthralled. All are attempts at describing the inflation of the heart, the rapture of the soul, the boundless appreciation that results when you witness something of exquisite and incomprehensible beauty.
And it happens every year. Just like clockwork.
The Bradford Pear trees announce its coming, and are almost always frozen back into place before spring actually arrives (like they didn’t get the memo). And the daffodils follow suit, taking their cue from the misguided pears, and join in the apparent false alarm. But . . . then it comes. It finally does come.
I cannot imagine my mother and father no longer existing any more than a scientist can imagine matter no longer existing; matter may take a different form, but it does not cease to exist.
“For out of it (the ground) you were taken;
for you are dust, and to dust you shall return.”
Resurrection, resurgence, is part and parcel of our lives, too; not just the plant world. We fall down, and then we “stand up” again (Greek, anastasis); we are defeated, but then we “rise.” Our hopes and dreams die, but then . . . they are revived.
Without new life, new beginnings – we would all be utterly miserable, and in despair. But built into life itself is this fascinating and rejuvenating phenomenon, this revitalization, this – resurrection (if you will).
That is what I see when I look at the spring! Life!
As the Apostle Paul stood and made his defense before the Jewish King Agrippa many years ago, he made a curious but insightful statement as he attempted to counter the political charges brought against him. He said,
“Why is it thought incredible by any of you that God raises the dead?”
It is not incredible at all. For we see the natural pattern of it demonstrated every year at this time.
Rebirth and renewal is “in our DNA” (so to speak).