My friend Ryan is dying.
If you want to get technical about it, we’re all dying, slowly, one day at a time – moving closer towards the day we eventually, inevitably, some day die.
But he is much closer to death than I.
He has cancer, and it’s been aggressive, and virulent, and over the past year it has been slowly killing him.
He’s done chemo. He’s received treatments. He’s tried it all.
We’ve prayed. We’ve fasted. We’ve wept.
And the cancer is still winning.
We got an email from his mother a few nights ago, telling us that he’s not doing well – in pain, on hospice care, and fading fast.
And my heart breaks. It breaks for Ryan, who is dying so young. It breaks for his family – for his mother and father who are watching their son fade away, for his siblings who are losing their brother, for his “family” here in Chicago that has come to love him and walk alongside him and meld their lives with his, and will miss him more than we know.
I’m tired of death.
I’m just so tired of it.
A few of us are driving up to visit him tomorrow – to move some of his things home – to show him again that he is loved – to spend time praying and pleading once more for his life, for healing, for restoration and resurrection, knowing full well that it is possible, and hoping against hope that the answer is “YES!”
But, in case the answer is “no,” we go up to say good-bye.
And we mourn. We weep.
…but not without hope…
Hope for the day when all things are made new.
“The City becomes the Bride adorned for her husband and comes in fine linen to the marriage supper of the Lamb.
…The Signs and the Promises detonate each other, and the freight of imagery, accumulated over a thousand years, bursts out in one blinding flash: For the Temple has become Jerusalem, and Jerusalem has become the Bride, and the Bride has become the Mystical Body, and the Lamb and his Wife are one. And everything is Christ, and everything is the Bride, and everything is the City where there is no temple, sun or moon, but only the Lamb who is its light. And the River flows back from the dawn of creation, and the Tree of Life returns from Eden, and the Gates of Jerusalem are not shut at all by day, and there is no night there. The tears, the sorrow, the crying and the pain are gone. It is all gardens, gallant walks and silver sounds:
There they live in such delight,
Such pleasure and such play,
As that to them a thousand years
Doth seem as yesterday.
By the drawing of the Mystery, the world has passed from its lostness and found him whom her soul loves. The Beloved comes leaping upon the mountains, skipping upon the hills. The time of the singing perpetually begins.”
~ Robert Farrar Capon, Hunting the Divine Fox
And so we will mourn, but believing, hoping, trusting that Ryan will know peace, rest, delight, embrace, and perpetual song.
For those of you who pray, pray with us…