One of the hardest things that we can experience in life is separation from people whom we love. When we lose someone who has played a very important role in our lives, we mourn. Our connections with people are sometimes very difficult to explain in words. No doubt, there are biological and psychological basis behind our attachments to others. Some may find this sort of attachment possible with certain animals, and that’s why we also mourn when we lose our pets. Yet, there is a different kind of way through which we connect with other human beings beyond biology or psychology. I have heard people say phrases like, “we connected on a very high level” or “we connected on a spiritual level”. I don’t know exactly what they mean, but I know that there is something behind this kind of connectedness – something beyond biology or psychology. I have seen it in my own life and the lives of my friends and family.
Be warned that the following are my own personal thoughts and are not based on any specific scientific or theological knowledge.
I think that when we find ourselves connected to others with such depth that we mourn their loss, we are actually connecting to Christ Himself. We see the image of God in the people that we love. I think this is especially true when the person we love is doing the works of God. He/she become more than just an image, they show us through tangible actions their love. We feel loved and want to love them back and remain connected to them.
It is no wonder that many people found Jesus very appealing. He is God. He is the One in whom all goodness and kindness are present. He is goodness. He is kindness. He is love itself. Let us pause for a second to ponder upon this idea of how God is love “itself”…
When your mother sits with you to talk for hours when you’re feeling down for a reason that only God knows – that’s love. She is offering you God. When your co-worker sacrifices his time to come help you with a broken machine that you need now – that’s love. So, even if your co-worker doesn’t know what he is doing exactly, he still is offering you Christ Himself. He is offering you love. When your fellow servant, who is very tired, spends more than an hour talking to you over the phone to make sure that you are OK – that’s love. He is offering you Christ Himself, again. When your aunt smiles in your face because she knows that this will lighten your burden of the long day – that’s love. She is offering you Christ. When a colleague that you haven’t seen in years sees you and after chatting for a bit offers you very sound advice – that’s love. She is offering you Christ, without her knowledge. When another co-worker spends time with you “just because” or when another opens up her heart to you and shares a little bit of herself – that’s love. They are all offering you Christ Himself.
Imagine that you encounter Our Lord Jesus Christ everyday when you go to school or work? Wouldn’t you be as thrilled and excited as the people who were following Him everyday when He was preaching? Even though many people may have followed Him for the wrong reasons, but there was still something about Jesus! There was still something that pulled people to Him. The children sure knew what they were doing! They went to Him, because honestly, where else would they go? He is all innocence and children are innocent. So, wouldn’t you be very pleased if you drove next to Jesus, rode the bus with Him, or gave Him a dollar as He was standing on the side of the road everyday? What about working with Him? Going out to coffee with Him? I would personally like that very much! It is a reality when we look at other human as bearing the image and likeness of God.
That’s what matters: to see the image of God in people instead of focusing on their fallen nature. We are going to get attached to people in one way or another, but that’s not for any good of their own. We get attached to them because they were made on the image and likeness of God. They bring us closer to Him in ways that we do not comprehend. When we “click” with someone or have a lot of “chemistry” with someone, I think that’s because we have found a piece of us that was lost. We find a piece that we are not able to fill with God, yet. Perfect union with God here on earth is not possible, but it is the promise of the resurrection and eternity to the faithful of God. The point is: when we are connected to people, it is because we are connecting to God. That is also why we mourn…
We mourn the loss of family, friends, mentors, etc. either through death or separation because we lose out on an experience that is indeed spiritual. Mourning is a strange process. The person is so out of control about what happened that they lose sense of who they are at times. The reason I say that the person becomes out of control is that we cannot bring the ones we lost back – neither when they die nor when they leave because the circumstances of life forced them to leave. The most confusing is when a person chooses to leave for no apparent reason except something deep within their heart. When we experience loss once, twice, three times, 4…5…6…100…we go through the process of mourning over and over again. Some choose to never again create deep connections because they simply got tired of going through these instances of mourning. We want to avoid feelings of discomfort, so we escape the source. Unfortunately, when we avoid deep relationships because we fear that they will be severed, we miss out on very beautiful moments of life. We miss out on learning about ourselves and about the people around us. We miss out learning about that grandma we just met, who is full of wisdom and love to anyone who will spend time with her….We miss out on becoming connected to another human being, even for a few minutes, days, weeks, months. The problem is that when we don’t connect with/lose people, we forget that we need to connect with God in such a depth that helps us heal from the pain of temporary separation.
I like to think of human-human relationships as practice situations of how we need to connect with God. Isn’t He our Friend? Isn’t He our Father? Isn’t He our Teacher? If we do not know how to be real and honest and connected to our earthly friends, fathers, and teachers, how will we ever learn how we need to connect with God? Again, I am not talking about looking at the fallen nature of our fellow humans, but rather on the goodness inside of them and the love they give us when they share even the smallest pieces of themselves with us. When you love your father, you spend time with him, discuss things that are important to both of you, you laugh together, you cry together, you reminisce together, or make plans for the future together. If a person never experiences this kind of connection – bond – they might have a hard time finding comfort in God’s presence. That isn’t a rule, but it is a speculation, because God calls everyone in different ways. Yet, I believe that the underlying theme of our need and desire to connect with God is the same as that desire we have to connect with people – His “good” creation. We find a fulfillment that is intangible and incomprehensible.
So, we mourn…when we are cut off from those whom we love. Some choose to fill the gap with other things, which do not include new fulfilling relationships. I think that there is a danger in this path, because unless we fill the gap in our heart with God, godly activities, and re-connection with people (i.e. we end up filling our emptiness with sinful things) we are headed towards continual mourning and no consolation. We need not fear making new connections despite our fallenness and the fallenness of our fellow humans. We need to take advantage of mourning the loss of others by turning directly and running towards Jesus. This is a time when our hearts are open and the wound inside is bleeding gushingly. Who is the ONLY one who can heal wounds like these? I can only think of One – Our Crucified and Resurrected Lord Jesus Christ. He will send us those whom we need, because God provides everything in time.
For my Arabic-speaking readers, I thought this song was appropriate for the theme of this set of deep thoughts…
For my English-speaking readers, I thought this song was appropriate for the theme…one of the lines says: “I’ll trade the fear of all that I could lose for all the moments that I could share with you…”
With much love,