The most interesting part of the Pirates of the Caribbean movies, to me, is the commitment of the characters to carry out their mission despite their circumstances. They are at times limited in their communication with one another, but they are constantly fighting for their own survival. I often find this challenging for myself. I will become distracted with worry and focus on that worry rather than tasks that need to be completed.
Do you ever wonder how you will react if faced with an extreme situation? If communication to your parents or spouse is suddenly taken away? Do you hole up and wait for word of their well-being? Or do you act in the knowledge that they can take care of themselves (or that God will take care of them) and start managing the tasks that belong to you?
When I think about death and grief, the above always crosses my mind. I am dealing with the loss of my grandparents and living in a world where they are no longer accessible. You see they were always there. They were close. For most of my life, they were geographically close, a maximum amount of five minutes separated us. The last years of their lives, we did not live close but never did much time pass without a phone call. The line of communication was always there. Their death marked the first time in my life when that line was severed. In a world of constant digital communication, it is a strange feeling.
One of the tricky things about death is that it can make the world stop turning for the few that are most affected, but for the surrounding population life continues normally. It’s strange at times to see people walking around the grocery store as if nothing happened. It’s weird.
Did they not feel the earthquake? Do they not see the giant hole in humanity that now exists?
Of course not. They have their own giant holes in their hearts.
Everyone carries their own invisible burdens.
It still feels weird.
This is the feeling, and this is where Pirates of the Caribbean comes in. My grandparents are not merely dead. You see they trusted in the everlasting promise of eternal life that Jesus provides. They are just on a different part of their journey. Our communication is gone, but they are not.
Romans 6:23: “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
They are with Christ. They are fine. Better than fine. They await the resurrection with me, though not near me.
1 Corinthians 15:42: “So it is with the resurrection of the dead. What is sown is perishable; what is raised is imperishable.”
1 Corinthians 15:49: “Just as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the man of heaven.”
Our identity is in Christ.
I will always be John and Marie’s granddaughter. This is a part of my identity that I will always treasure. It is only part of my identity. You see my entire identity is in Christ. I am his. My human relationships all exist in relation to this overarching relationship. A relationship that can never end as he has already beaten death. I can always cling to Jesus. I can always draw near to him, worship him.
Colossians 3:1-4: “If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.”
Romans 8:38: “For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Is it wrong to grieve? No of course not.
Does knowledge of the above make death less sad? I can’t answer that. Hopefully it will. If not initially, perhaps after some time has passed. The truth is that death is not the end. It is not the final word. It can do a lot, but it can’t separate us from the love of God. In the resurrection of Christ, we have actual evidence that death does not nor cannot hold our God.
You can and should continue your mission. For me, I rest in knowing that my grandparents are with the Lord. They are continuing their journey while I continue mine. I lack the ability to communicate with them right now, but I can still communicate with the one who holds them – Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior. More than any movie character, I continue my appointed tasks, come what may.
Heidelberg Catechism as found on http://www.crcna.org/welcome/beliefs/confessions/heidelberg-catechism
Q & A 1
- What is your only comfort
in life and in death?
- That I am not my own,1
body and soul,
in life and in death—2
to my faithful Savior, Jesus Christ.3
He has fully paid for all my sins with his precious blood,4
and has set me free from the tyranny of the devil.5
He also watches over me in such a way6
that not a hair can fall from my head
without the will of my Father in heaven;7
in fact, all things must work together for my salvation.8
Because I belong to him,
Christ, by his Holy Spirit,
assures me of eternal life9
and makes me wholeheartedly willing and ready
from now on to live for him.10
1 1 Cor. 6:19-20
2 Rom. 14:7-9
3 1 Cor. 3:23; Titus 2:14
4 1 Pet. 1:18-19; 1 John 1:7-9; 2:2
5 John 8:34-36; Heb. 2:14-15; 1 John 3:1-11
6 John 6:39-40; 10:27-30; 2 Thess. 3:3; 1 Pet. 1:5
7 Matt. 10:29-31; Luke 21:16-18
8 Rom. 8:28
9 Rom. 8:15-16; 2 Cor. 1:21-22; 5:5; Eph. 1:13-14
10 Rom. 8:1-17