The Time In Between

Riding home from church this weekend, we talked with our daughter about what she had learned.

Easter week. Jesus died so that we might live.

I wondered how that language, that phrase that has become so assumed and widespread in our family's circle of conversation, struck a 6 year old.

What did it sound like?

Life, death, death for another, death so that another might live.

Our conversation led me back to a singular moment in 2006. My wife, father-in-law, and I sat in a rectangular waiting room crammed with stock-issued hospital style waiting room furniture. Clinic_Waiting_Room

Light colored faux wood. Cushions worn down by the weight of pensive people longing for better news than they expected.

A house phone jingled and the volunteer who fished the receiver from the wall said, "It's for you."

The doctor conveyed a singular and profound statement.

The old liver is out.

We had been waiting months, through health struggles and clinic appointments, through medicines and treatments that kept mom at home and relatively immobilized, for the word that a liver was available to replace her failing one.

Someone had died. A match. Locally. He's a donor.

We rushed to the hospital, preparations had already been made because frankly we were praying that God would hasten this day. The day when healing would come. The day when she would get the vital piece of fleshy equipment that would clean her blood and bring her back to us.

We were praying, whether we knew it or not, that one may die so that our loved one may live.

The old liver was out. We were in the middle period, the land in between, the valley of the shadow of death. There was no going back, no reconsidering at this point, it was all in motion.

Soon we'd be standing over her in recovery, tubes protruding and monitors beeping, and she would open her eyes. For the first time in months we'd see white instead of jaundice around her corneas.

We'd see clarity of mind. We'd see recognition. Life. Hope.

Someone had died. Now someone might live.

I realize two things about this post: 1) not everyone's organ transplant story ends as well as ours did and 2) there is a massive amount of difference between this story and the death and resurrection of Christ.

Then again, there is much that is the same.

As we go into this week we are reminded of what the Easter week really was: a week that will see the brash crowd who praised Jesus turn judge & jury to sentence him to death and a week that will see a city in frenzy at a time of great celebration over a criminal execution the likes of which the world had never before witnessed.

All told, this week is a time in between. Death and life stood suspended on a rough wooden crosspiece and all the world - knowingly or unknowingly held its breath - and the great drama reached its climax.

Will we wake to clear-eyed life? Will the morning bring hope, or more sadness at the expanding powers of evil empires bent on their own salvation and preservation? Or is it possible, even slightly possible, that one may die so that others may live and the dead one rise again?

To be continued...