Sunday, March 29, 2015


I mostly worked nights when I was a hospital nurse - 7pm-7am.  This worked well for me barring the sleep confusion. I liked the quiet. It was just a skeleton crew of staff. I'd get my shift change report and get moving. There was the occasional nurse's report that included something like, "This family is really difficult." These words meant it was going to be a good night. Truly.

When those words were said to me, I added more sentences in my head.  Something to the effect of, "Of course they're difficult, their kid is really sick."  And I knew that at some point in the night, when things were quiet, that the parents and I would end up talking.

I later learned in pastor school about Martin Luther's "dark night of the soul." A middle of the night time filled with despair, anxiety, and fear so thick you taste it. I thought about those parents on my nightshifts. The Germanwings crash seems to have kick-started these memories. As a parent of teenagers, those high school friends who were murdered by plane crash and their parents' grief are haunting. As a Jesus person entering Holy Week, the week before Easter, all that makes sense to me in the face of their deaths is the cross.

For me, the cross isn't so much a way of living as it is a way to describe how I experience life. There are dark nights of the soul and the cross holds the weight of them because it is not falsely optimistic about my own pain or anyone else's. My lack of actual control over much of anything somehow finds space to grieve and to rest. Defiant alleluias will come with Easter. Today I'm letting the cross name the pain.

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