The Un-Turned Jesus in Our Turned Living

April 10, 2021 marks three years since my sister died.

I won’t pretend to love 2018. With its turn of seasons, I’ve watched my sister’s life and body turn also. Cancer and death turned her over. From her exuberant, feminine curves, to lethargic, shaky bones. Words that strung together into her signature-Nicoleta-speech, spiraled into painful murmurs from her drained throat. Eyes that shone with warm life, closed off slowly—shadows of darkness danced in her glassy pupils. Warm, rosy skin chilled into a purple coldness. A woman with spark, zeal, voluptuous beauty—turned into a corpse.

I want to know how do I forget remembering her dying? How long will my nostrils smell the memories of her weakening portrait, this vigor grated slowly into dying breaths? Will her bones contouring her flesh slowly fade with time from my mind? Can I blink her skeleton into oblivion? Her face of silent pain haunts me still…A pained-love stood watch over her small head. The same love awakens me at night. How do I forget her dying while I am living?

The Psalms are brutally honest. They take their time dwelling on the rawest of living and the darkest of memories. God is patient with sorrowful living. He gives the writers of Psalms 150 chapters and 2,461 verses in the Bible to pour their heart out. God takes time listening to poems, metaphors, personification, questions, exclamations, ultimatums, supplications, praises, feelings of exhaustion, loneliness, depression…Not once does God rebuke the writers of the Psalms. Nor does He warn them to stop wasting writing space in His Word with sorrows and pains.

God listens to our sorrows, too. Every noun and verb and exclamation point within…

The Psalmists’ sorrow ended at some point. But, looking back, it is not the ending of their grief that makes an impression on Bible readers. I cannot remember how and when the conflicted sorrow ended for them. And maybe this is the point. What makes Psalms so memorable is the chronicled journey of emotions, prayers, and trusting faith under the hand of God—better than ended sorrows and healed pains for now. Souls exposed under the watchful eye of a patient and loving God. Honest pleas breathed out from broken words. Frail bodies dragging their bones in humble supplications. Language that takes its time processing, monologuing, dialoguing, praying, and being silent. Maybe it’s not about forgetting as much as it is about remembering that God is with us through it all. Maybe it’s not about letting go as much as it is about holding on to faith.

From 2018 to today, death turned over my sister, our memories, our pain, our lives. But in all this turning and dying and grieving—there was someone who stayed constant. Untouched. Un-died. Un-turned. Preserved in the walls of our souls—Jesus remained supreme. The more I remember 2018, the more I see Jesus un-turned in it. In the middle of all the turning, Jesus stayed powerful and constant. The turn of my sister’s life to death didn’t scare Jesus away. He stayed un-turned. The turnover of our feelings from joy to loss to sorrow didn’t overwhelm Jesus. He drew closer to us, un-turned.

Jesus reigns un-turned still.

We live between the hissing schemes of the devil and the thunderous victory of Christ through his death on the cross. While the former keeps us on our knees, it is the latter truth that defines us and raises us unto eternal glory. Death’s desperate attempt to curse every living cell and organ exposed my sister’s eternal life instead. It is everlasting splendors death threw her into. Death sent her to Heavenly bliss. Her ending was her new beginning.

I know I will carry these memories with me for as long as I live on this earth. My sister’s death changed me forever. But I pray I will always remember the One who remains un-turned through all life’s turnings.


1 Comment

  1. I’m very sorry. After reading this page the reality of death sank in. We too have lost someone we loved and admired dearly. But of course it isn’t loss that is so surprising, but that it could happen to anybody.

    My first true encounter with loss was a Beautiful spirit (her name was Robin) who fought Cancer for many years, but suddenly was taken. We had only just met; She lived in Lexington on Cherokee across from C.Babtist Hospital but she was taken what seemed almost overnight.

    Cancer is unkind and it doesn’t seem to discriminate weather it takes the top or the bottom of the deck of Cards. It seems as likely to kill an angel as a sinner, and holds its own cards close so that we never see.

    We can beg the doctors and the preacher for answers and predictions, but sadly this power seems be scattered like a puzzle and as soon as its put together, its already time to take it apart and shake up the pieces.

Comments are closed.