Returning to Freedom

It’s Easter morning. Out the window, I see a woman walking her dog, just beyond the place where all three of our pets are buried. A tiny forsythia is hinting at blooming. The sky is bright blue. I could fill this entire post with the minutiae of things I can see out this one glass square in the back of our house.

Perhaps you know that only about five percent of the universe is stuff that can be directly observed. Ninety-five percent of our universe is essentially unknown to the scientists whose lives are devoted to studying it. So, for the rest of us, it’s probably closer to 99.99999 percent.

I love this kind of elbow room. Going to church, for me, has evolved into the practice of swimming and singing in this 95 percent. Oh, I love the five percent of observable things, too: the taste of the molasses communion bread, the sherry, the smell of beeswax, a beautiful oboe line soaring above a Bach chorale.

It occurred to me recently, after losing a long-time family friend to the plague that is cancer, Joan is free now. She’s free of that five percent of observable matter that was her body. She’s now returned to the freedom of being part of the mystery that is the bulk of the universe around us.

Do I know this for a fact? Hell no. Is truth bound by the knowable five percent of matter that we observe? Never has been. Never will be.

As my bride will say in her sermon later this morning, if you stumble over the word “believe,” substitute the word “belove.” If you stumble over the idea of celebrating the blood sacrifice of a man some 2000 years ago, here’s my trick: substitute the words “life and love” for “body and blood.” In my experience, it’s so much deeper to substitute the word “love” for “blood” any time you encounter it in church. If you stumble over the word “Father” for God, substitute “Author.” Participate in something that stretches you, that makes you think, that inspires you to ask new questions.

In the grand scheme of things, our stay on this earth is a snapshot. My Easter wish is that while you’re here, you participate in all of it, the five percent of what’s known and the 95% of what’s not known.

Happy Easter everyone!

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11 responses to “Returning to Freedom

  1. Beautiful, Joybells.

  2. Something I Can’t See

    Today
    I got in the car
    just to move
    and ended up here
    sitting on a bench
    to suffer your absence
    beside this lake
    and look
    across the water
    at the hilltop—
    wintered brown—
    where we met
    four decades ago.

    Today
    something I can’t see
    swims
    toward the shore
    to my left
    fast and straight
    just beneath
    the surface
    and leaves behind
    a widening vee.
    Turned now
    to see if anything
    emerged
    onto the shore
    I look at the bridge
    where your ashes
    billowed
    and sank
    out of sight
    two years ago.

    Today
    I begin
    to understand
    that if I’m
    ever to find
    the blessing green
    I must turn
    to look
    for a trace of you
    beyond
    memory or dream
    and learn to see
    the vee
    you leave behind
    as you move
    fast and straight
    just beneath
    the surface.

    Copyright ©2014 Bruce Jones

  3. My beloved daughter, you and Bruce Jones bring the deepest meaning of Easter to me. I am blessed beyond measure on this day. Thank you both.

  4. Precious daughter– your Easter post, plus your brother’s appreciation for it, plus Bruce Jones’ exquisite poem, plus Mary Buxbaum’s choir this morning, plus dinner with wonderful friends, afford me more Easter inspiration than can be held in a mere 5%. Thanks for moving me today to 5.3%. If only I could have heard Pam’s Easter Homily!

  5. Joy – I had subscribed to your blog a few years ago but sometime last year I stopped receiving the e-mail notifications. With everything going on with Joan I didn’t get around to re-subscribing. I’m thankful your Dad forwarded this post to me. Joan’s situation allowed her to know that her death was coming and an approximation of when it would occur. I believe this allowed her to focus on the mystery of life and death in a way most people are not permitted. In the 11 weeks she had after she stopped leukemia treatments she was the most perceptive person I’ve known. She often said that the “chemo brain” was causing her to not be able to think clearly at times. And yet, her ability to feel her place in the universe was heightened beyond anything I’ve ever known or seen. I’m not sure how far beyond the 5% she actually experienced but I know it was much farther than I’ve been. At the end as I was holding her in my arms and listening to her last breaths, I could sense that she was trying to impart some of what she was learning even then to me. I know I was not able to receive all she was trying to share with me but it was enough that I was comforted she was satisfied with the journey she had chosen. Thank you for sharing your insights with us.

    Bruce – Thank you for your poem. Your words are already helping me get through another day. I now know what I need to be looking for.

    • Dave, your stopping by here to leave such a beautiful testimony is one more example of the multitude of ways I have been so blessed by you and Joan from afar, in ways I can’t even describe. I continue to keep your family in my prayers. Please know that I’m doing my best to accompany you along this particular road. Love, Joy

  6. Reading this, and the entire thread has blessed me today, too. I’ve been contemplating the mystery of God, life, new life, and all the precious, ordinary, sacred moments that I live and sometimes notice. I want to be more awake, aware, and appreciative. Many of the words expressed here help shape my thinking. Easter blessings to each of you.

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