“Daddy, don’t die today” is how every day is beginning at my house at the moment. As either my daughter, who’s 5, or I leave the house for the day. This is the mantra.
My response is pretty consistent, “I’ll do my best not to, but there’s no guarantees.”
And this is how my day began as I left the house on Monday to conduct the memorial service for a friend and colleague of mine who died, at age 40, from complications connected with her breast cancer treatment.
As I listened to the tributes about her life from her husband, work colleagues, family and friends and looked out over the diverse crowd that was gathered, I had time to consider what a life well lived looked like.
What struck me, once again, is that it wasn’t really about the work that she had done in the various jobs that she’d had or the achievements that she’d managed to accomplish. It was all about the way that she had engaged with peoples lives in the various roles that she had. Her connectedness, honesty, enthusiasm and caring nature had deeply touched those around her to the point where our gathering together ended with a spontaneous dance session at the front of the church.
And this drew me into the remembrance of the beauty of the great dance that I believe that we are all a part of.
Thinking about the narrative of the Biblical story as a whole, I was reminded of the engagement of God with humanity that was not based on achievement and accomplishment but our pure connectedness with the Divine. From the opening of Genesis we see that God walked with Adam and Eve in the Garden. He didn’t look at how much work they’d managed to accomplish, how many animals they’d worked out names for, how good their tomatoes were. Naked and unashamed they walked.
And so the story continues through Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, through the Judges and Kings, through the Prophets.
The trajectory of the story is always about how God impacts life, both individual and communal and how those lives impact the lives around them.
And then Jesus enters the picture as John describes at the start of his account of Jesus’ life
9-13 The Life-Light was the real thing:
Every person entering Life
he brings into Light.
He was in the world,
the world was there through him,
and yet the world didn’t even notice.
He came to his own people,
but they didn’t want him.
But whoever did want him,
who believed he was who he claimed
and would do what he said,
He made to be their true selves,
their child-of-God selves.
These are the God-begotten,
The entry of Jesus into the world continues this dance of connection and relationship.
Belief and obedience, yes, but grounded in divine grace and dance. A restoration of walking together unafraid. An invitation to be truly naked and free.
And with it the opportunity to invite others into this dance, to the communal walk.
Maybe this is what a life well lived looks like. A life where vulnerability with the Divine liberates to enable full engagement and connection with those who journey around us.
So I returned home to my daughter, having survived another day, to wonder, as I walk with the Divine how my journey with those around me reveals this light and love and the power of our connectedness with each other and whether anyone will dance unashamed at my memorial.