Nothing Lasts.

This past Sunday was Mother's Day, which is often a difficult day for me to celebrate, having lost my mom several years ago.  

It's funny how grief works.  You think it has passed, and you won't ever really feel the pang of loss, but all it takes is a small moment, a memory, a song, or a memorable holiday to bring it all back.  

Today, I'd love to reflect on a stanza from Mary Oliver's poetry, or at least a few lines from one that speaks to grief and resurrection.  

I read this line the other day, and it hit me in the gut like a punch: 
Nothing lasts. 
There is a graveyard where everything I am talking about is, now.
I stood there once, on the green grass, scattering flowers. 

Oliver had been reflecting on her deceased parents.  Then abruptly, she writes the above line.  It's jarring and compelling all at once.  

But something is amazing about those three lines. Oliver looks back on the sorrow and pain of her loss and declares, "Nothing lasts." 

This is a declaration of both realization and hope. It also extends a kind of impermanence to the grief of loss that has bruised us. 

[I  heard a song the other day whose lyrics declared, "But baby, a bruise is only your body trying to keep you intact."  That's so good.] 

Then, Oliver shifts to the image of a graveyard where her parents are laid to rest, ending with the image of her scattering flowers on the green grass, all signs of life... and resurrection. 

I really needed to read that poem this week.  

I imagine plenty of you may have had a similar experience to mine this past weekend.  And plenty more who have been struggling with the pain of the loss of a loved one.  

There is no blueprint for grief, dear friends.  Each of us has our own journey through it.  And there will be waves of it, too many to bear at first.  But at some point, the waves come less and less often.  

But when they come, don't consider yourself weak or overly emotional if you feel them intensely.  Give yourself grace, but you are never over the loss, no matter how long you live. 

I've had conversations with 90-plus-year-old people who still looked back on the loss of their parents with sadness.  Time does a fair amount of healing of those kinds of wounds, but there will always be an ache, no matter how long we live. 

And that's the point, isn't it?  We live.  

We stand over our grief and scatter flowers on the green grass of hope in the resurrection.  We do this because we long to keep living, hoping to see our loved ones again. 

So, if you are grieving today, scatter your flowers.  

Live fully.  Laugh openly. Love freely. Believe strongly.  

Resurrection isn't something that happened in the past; it's happening all the time, all around us.  And one day, we will also depart this life for the next.  Then, we will realize just how fully the Resurrection lives within us. 

May it be so, and may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen. 


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