Sunday, April 8, 2012


 Today is Easter and as I rise out of my sickbed I rejoice that each day for the last two days I feel better than before.  Only four years ago at Easter time I was in bed recovering from cancer.  Life has brought me a long way from that tomb and I am grateful.

 Damian Hirst

This minor illness of today gives me a perfect opportunity to again meditate upon the seasonal metaphors of death, resurrection, rebirth and renewal.

 As I peruse the images of the resurrection I am struck at how many of the paintings of Jesus emerging from the tomb now seem pompous to me, like this one by Alvise Varini.  (I do like how buff Jesus looks here though and the interesting way he ties his robe.)

This painting below by Carl Heinrich Bloch better reflects how I feel at present, joyous to be released from the tomb of illness. Praise God for a new day!

I like how Block captures the condescension of even the most blessed to a Higher Power.

Of course, there can be no rebirth without first being laid under the blanket of Death.

 William Blake   "The Grave Personified"

Death- the spectre we dread.
Yet it is the fear of death that prevents us from living fully and comfortably with Life.  Once we make peace with our own demise, it is easier to relax and enjoy each day of living and accept our end as only one piece of a much larger, never-ending story.  (I realize how facile I make this sound, as if it is a simple thing to toss away the fear of death. Perhaps this task is our fundamental quest.)

I love this poem by Langston Hughes, which addresses Death as a companion.

Dear Lovely Death
by Langston Hughes

Dear lovely death
That taketh all things under wing-
Never to kill-
Only to change

Into some other thing
This suffering flesh,
To make it either more or less,
Yet not again the same-
Dear lovely death,
Change is thy other name.

Louis Janmot   "Flight of the Soul"

Some speak of inner death/rebirth as a burning, a holocaust of the old and dis-eased in us from which we can, phoenix-like, emerge...

The Resurrection  
by Linda Gregg  

Let the tower in your city burn. Let the steps
to the shadowed building by the lake burn
even though it is made of stone. Let the lion
house burn so that the roaring and burning
will be heard together. Let the old, poor,
wooden house where I lived go up in flames, even though
you returned and sat on the steps that led
up to where we used to exist. Let it all burn,
not to destroy them, but to give them the life
my life gives to them now. To make them flare
as they do in me, bright and hot, bright and burning.

I leave you with a wonderful TED talk by Thandie Newton about embracing nothingness and the death/rebirth of the self:

Happy Easter to you.  
Carpe Diem!

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