And the one who was seated on the throne said, “See, I am making all things new.”
Lately, I have been contemplating resurrection. Among the images conjured up by the word are revival, rejuvenation, and rebirth. Earlier this week, I got a call from a police detective. He was at my brother’s apartment and called to tell me my brother was dead.
There was a time when Wade and I were best friends. We learned to snow ski together. We vacationed together. We played basketball, golf, and mud volleyball together. He was the best man at my wedding, and I at his. He had a quirky sense of humor and was always fun company. And then about 20 years ago something in Wade’s brain chemistry shifted, and he ended up in a mental institution for the first of many hospitalizations. At first, his illness was something we dealt with together. As the years passed, however, a wedge developed between us – a wedge due in part to his illness and in part to my anxiety. There was the day in court as his wife and I sought to have him involuntarily committed. There were several nerve-wracking drives, taking him to the hospital as his psychosis raged. A part of Wade became suspicious of me, as if I were looking for any reason to send him back to a mental ward. A part of me resented the need monitor Wade’s mental state with every encounter. Was he in a common realm of reality, or was he only pretending? When he was pretending, he could be unnerving. Perhaps my biggest fear was that his illness would incapacitate him and I, as his oldest sibling, would need to become his legal guardian.
Today, as I reflect on my life with Wade, I realize the discomfort, the anxieties, and the challenges of the past 20 years are gone. The wedge between us has been removed as surely as the stone of Christ’s tomb was rolled away. They, along with his body, now belong to the earth where they can sprout into new life. Wade’s soul is once again free to be the truest and freest version of itself — funny, quirky, loving life and those with whom he shares it. In a fit of unexpected resurrection, I have my brother back.
And this is the essence of resurrection — making things new and better, restoring what is good, healing what is sick, removing that which stands between us and love. In the sadness of losing my brother as a physical presence, I have regained the unfettered memories of the brother I loved dearly. And I can immerse myself in those memories without worrying about when, where, and how the next manifestation of his illness will occur. Part of me always knew those episodes were the illness and not my brother, but sometimes it was difficult to separate the two. Not anymore. Wade’s human frailties are committed to the earth, and he is free. For that, and for the extraordinary experiences, I rejoice.
Godspeed, my brother!