Death Is A New Beginning…

…Continued from, It’s a Good Day To Trust a Promise…

I have been quite intrigued by the wisdom in one particular chapter of Elisabeth Elliots’ book, The Path of Loneliness… Chapter Ten: Death is a New Beginning…

Listen to her words and the wisdom of them…

“Deeper and deeper must be the dying… [which]… sounds morbid… But the spiritual meaning of death… far from being a diseased and unwholesome thing, is actually the wondrous matrix of health, well being, vitality, life. Loneliness is one kind of dying most of us learn about sooner or later. Far from being bad for us, a hindrance of spiritual growth, it may be the means of unfolding spiritual blossoms hitherto enfolding…. The flower must die in order to produce fruit. The fruit dies to allow the seed to fall once again into the ground. The seed dies and there is a new beginning. Nothing is ever wasted. Dead leaves, dead flesh, natural wastes of all kinds, enrich the soil. In Gods economy, whether he is making a flower or a human soul, nothing ever comes to nothing. The losses are His way of accomplishing the gains…”.

“The same Mind which fashioned the cycles of seed life also fashioned the continuous death-and-life cycle of an individual human life. [Birth]… is in itself an experience of death-death for the mother, who puts her life on the line to deliver her child and death for the child, who leaves the security and warmth of the womb to travel a terrible passage into a cold and unfamiliar world”.

“Every passage is both a death and a new life. When the child is weaned, there is the severing from the only source of comfort and nourishment he has known. Suddenly he is lonely. So is the mother, as she experiences the first separation from her baby who has been intimately and physically a part of her. Weaning is thus a death for both baby and mother”.

“When a child learns to walk, he walks away from his mother. When he leaves for school, it is the end of measureless freedom and the security of home. He finds out what loneliness is, and so does his mother, for even if she feels that for her it is the beginning of a new freedom, she must also realize that she has lost her baby”.

“Puberty, the foreshadowing of the new life of fatherhood and motherhood, is death to the old one of childhood. Jesus made a break with his parents at the age of twelve to be about his father’s business. The time of irresponsibility was over for him (is there a lesson here for teenagers and their parents? How long can playtime go on?) When [a child] goes to college, her mother loses her baby all over again”.

“Graduation ceremonies are called commencements. They celebrate an ending and a beginning. Young adulthood is a new life, eagerly welcomed, but seldom entered upon without some pains of nostalgia, not to mention qualms about the future. So it is a death as well. One is jolted by the realization that he is no longer protected and cared for, he is on his own, and has obligations he never had before. It dawns on him for example, that he is single, although he has never been anything else. What does it mean? Death to self-will, a new life of acceptance of suffering, a serious seeking of the will of God concerning marriage.”

“Nowhere is the life/death cycle more obvious than in marriage. While bride and groom, consumed with joy, may well make it through the wedding without tears, the parents often do not. Newlyweds focus on the new life. Parents focus on the one that is over. It does not take long after the wedding, however, for the young husband and wife to discover that marriage is both a new life and an unexpected death. At this point each is likely to feel that a horrible mistake has been made. Marriage is death to privacy, independence, childhood’s home and family, death to unilateral decisions and the notion that there is only one way of doing things, death to self. When these little deaths are gladly and wholeheartedly accepted, new life—-the glory of sacrificial love which leads to perfect union—- is inevitable” (Elliot, 1988).

Albeit unknown to many of us, we have been about the process of loneliness and death all along. Knowing these facts explains a lot. It explains all the many confused feelings and odd behaviors I couldn’t quite comprehend and/or just accepted as part of adult maturation. However, now knowing they why of it, somehow seems to be like a salve applied to an old wound or as if I have awoken to the fact that I have been transformed into the body of a bird to soar in the heavens and dance in the clouds… Are you soaring too?

Until tomorrow…


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