Friday, November 13, 2009
"Unbind him, and let him go"
As some of you know, I was recently at the funeral of a friend of mine, and while I mourned his passing, the words that the priest spoke during his homily helped me overcome another loss. The priest said, "we must forgive him for leaving us. He was struggling, suffering his own crucifixion. We need to forgive him, and let his soul go on." At those words I wept. They helped me so much. They put into perspective the struggle of my friend "James" who died, under similar circumstances, over 11 years ago now.
I didn't hear these words then, if they were even said. But now, they have helped me to deal with the loss of James. To let him go on, forgive him, and remember without devastation and fresh tears, what a great person he was before he left us.
The Sunday after the funeral, the Gospel reading at church was John 11:32-44, the story of Jesus raising Lazarus from the tomb. If you have a moment, go read it, it's a powerful and moving story of loss, and recovery. Jesus' friend Lazarus was dead and buried, and Jesus raises him from the dead (a miracle). But what struck me, and has helped me SO MUCH were the last words that Jesus says to his friends in this little story:
"Jesus said to them, "Unbind him, and let him go."
I will unbind James, and let him go. I will keep my memories of him, but I will let go of my anger at him for leaving us all. I forgive him.