Saturday, April 19, 2014


My chaplain friend talked about different people struggling with loss: The man who watched his girlfriend jump to her death from a balcony some 17 storeys above him; the man who left a promising career in sports for a life of crime when his grandfather died. One person after another whose life was derailed by loss.

My friend is a D Min student. He was presenting his project to us, looking at what he calls “complicated grief”: The grief and losses men experience in prison. One of his thoughts was that the church has not done well working with the idea of loss. He said, “We need to develop a theology of loss to answer the question: Why did God design a world filled with loss?”

I could refer him to theodicies (theologies of suffering), which move in the direction he notes. But he is right. This area is one of the hardest for us to make sense of. Why does loss appear to be designed into our world? For those of us who believe in God, why has loss been planted in our world, and we are forced to eat the fruit that grows on it if we want to live?

Today is Holy Saturday—the day between Dark Friday and Resurrection Sunday. We play those wonderful YouTube clips of Tony Campolo preaching: “It’s Friday! But Sunday’s coming!” And we’re ready to shout with his audience, “Sunday’s coming!” But today we wait in between. Today we feel the loss. Why did God design our world to be filled with loss?

Of course, in this respect the prisoners are simply human. We all experience loss. In Denial of the Soul Scott Peck describes the ending of life as a series of losses, until we are confined to bed unable to care for ourselves. Entirely dependent on others for everything; at the end of the road paved with loss. Why?

No answers today. This is Holy Saturday. Today we wait. Maybe someday we’ll know better, but for the moment we know that loss is real. Loss hurts. How we live with loss can destroy or make us. But for now it’s not even Friday; it’s Saturday, and we wait.


Climenheise said...

Something that I notice about the examples I started with--they are more dramatic than most, so they get their attention. But the truth is that the inmates my friend studied are simply people, and we all live with loss, dramatic or unremarkable. All loss leaves its mark and resists explanation.

gretaceline said...

This is something I have grappled with a lot: the losses in life. I have experienced many in the past 20 years. In fact, I could say that loss has made me question my faith in God. A spiritual teacher I love says that when we are in the darkness that is just "Divine Mother's hand picking us up and causing a shadow as she reaches down to cradle us. Perhaps loss is also just a temporary darkness that leads us to the light? Perhaps that is what death is also? Of course I don't know these answers. Easter used to be my favorite holy day because of the promise of the resurrection. I think that awe I felt on Easter Sunday is beginning to return to me...which is why, I suppose, I am writing on my cousin's blog. Many Blessings. Greta

Climenheise said...
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Climenheise said...

Thank you, Greta!
My father-in-law died on Easter Sunday 23 years ago. My mother-in-law died just after Easter last year. Dark and light are tied together as tightly as any yin-yang reality. I have ideas of answers, but suspect that answers themselves are something I'm not supposed to know yet. Our darkness may be a necessary prelude to God's full presence in our lives. "The dark night of the soul" (Saint John of the Cross, I think, used this expression) is meant as something good, if not always enjoyed.