It’s been a weekend of mixed feelings, topping off a couple of weeks of sadness and tiredness. In my non-writing life, I’m a physiotherapist. I spend three days a week working with injured and unwell people. I often work with people in pain, but it’s most commonly physical pain. Most of them get better, which is one of the joys of the job.
Some weeks are easier than others, but over the last few weeks, I’ve been struck by the number of people who are struggling not only with pain, but with a diagnosis that leads to death, or with personal tragedies that strike me to the depths of my soul as I hear about them.
Part of my job is just to listen. Part of it is to help people discover a solution to their pain and injury, by aiding them to restore the physical function of their bodies. Just occasionally, it’s to help make them more comfortable as death approaches, to gently assist them with mobility and swelling so that the precious time left to them is the best that it can be.
Today is Easter Sunday – the day when Christians celebrate the resurrection of Christ, who conquered death. For many people, Easter is just another day full of fun, chocolate and family time. For me, Easter is very much about my faith. It’s about hope for the future, hope for a day when, as it says in Revelation, “He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” In the context of learning of an unexpected death today, those words were even more beautiful than ever. The reading this morning included this verse: “Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?”
Many of you reading this will not share my faith, but I’d like to leave you with a few thoughts, taken from my reading over the years of CS Lewis’ Narnia series.
I’ve always loved the final Narnia book: “The Last Battle.” Although it’s a bittersweet novel in many ways, as it shows very starkly the final days of Narnia, it’s also a story of triumph, and it’s possibly the book in which Lewis’ Christian faith is most clearly revealed. This is a quotation from the end of the story. “And as He spoke, He no longer looked to them like a lion; but the things that began to happen after that were so great and beautiful that I cannot write them. And for us this the end of all the stories, and we can most truly say that they all lived happily ever after. But for them it was only the beginning of the real story. All their life in this world and all their adventures in Narnia had only been the cover and the title page: now at last they were beginning Chapter One of the Great Story which no one on earth has read: which goes on for ever: in which every chapter is better than the one before.”
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