Thursday, November 1, 2012

A birth, a death, and the change of seasons

All Saints Day Blessings!

In my last post I wrote of a birth - little "Christie" was born to one of our Burmese students. I'm pleased to report she is doing well!

 Today I write this post from Rockford, Illinois, in the USA, where my beloved  姐姐 "jeje",  my older sister died at her home, surrounded by her family, after a three year struggle with advanced breast cancer.

Here is an excerpt from her funeral homily, given by moi, her little sister:

 "God has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart." -- Ecclesiastes 3:11

There is a season for everything, the Old Preacher of Ecclesiastes tells us.
My sister, Karin Elisabeth on Zychlin Gaines, a beautiful, complex, unruly name for a beautiful complex, unruly woman...

Karin loved her seasons. She was born in earliest spring, just about the time when the first little snowdrop blossom peeked out from under the snow
and she died just when the change of seasons, the cold snap came.
I don't think that's an accident, I think that's within the divine design of her Creator.

But at the same time, beyond the seasons of this life, Karin also had a thirst for eternity.

She did not want to die.
And we hated to see her suffer and die.
As the word on the street has it - Cancer sucks.  It does.

And into this painful reality, the Christian Church speaks a powerful word:

Jesus - the most Human One - came to take away the sting of death.

Jesus - the Suffering One - was with Karin her dreadful struggle for breath.
Jesus- the One who got up from the dead again, can and will awaken his little sister, God's daughter, Karin Elisabeth.

It is a mystery, says St. Paul in I Corinthians 15

 " a flash, in the twinkling of an eye... we will be changed."

Karin's eternal self will be as different from her worn out body, as a flower seed or grain of wheat or an acorn is different from a sunflower, a wheat stalk, or an oak tree in its full autumnal glory.

This is almost unbelievable, but all it takes is the tiniest seed of faith to make hope bloom.

Blessings to all on this All Saint's Day, 2012. And thanks to my big sister, Karin, for all the life gifts you have given to your family and friends, and in particular to me, your Mui Mui (妹妹) - your favorite (and only) little sister.

1 comment:

  1. Cancer does, indeed, SUCK!
    I offer my deepest condolences!
    Steve Westlie