“If your heart stops, do you want us to try and bring you back?”
The disturbing nature of the question sent Poss into momentary flashbacks of all the near death experiences he’d endured. After arriving back to the consciousness of the moment, he responded with a resounding, "Yes, I want to be brought back!”
Poss made it through the surgery and is alive and well today. Seemingly resurrected, he's been sober since August 23rd of 2011 and now housed in his own apartment after roaming the Mile High streets for years.
Poss tasted the dust and now lives with the aftertaste of resurrection.
It’s no different for the rest of us. Living the resurrection means tasting the dust before finally disintegrating into it six feet below the surface. St. Francis was said to affectionately call death his sister. In order to have intimacy with resurrection then we must be open to a relationship with her nearest sibling. It seems death and resurrection are not adversaries they’re more like twins. We can’t get to know one while fearfully running from the other. It doesn’t work like that.
Richard Rohr says, “Death is not just physical dying, but going to full depth, hitting the bottom, going the distance, beyond where I am in control, fully beyond where I am now."
Tasting the dust of death is a letting go. Our all out efforts at certainty or perfection does not create a bridge over the tragic gap. We can not fully live into the resurrection without falling, failing, and feeling utterly powerless. If we could wipe the rear view mirror clean we’ll see that our failures were our ticket forward rather than our successes. And as we look back we notice we were never alone. Although we didn't see her at the time, grace was keeping us company.
We all die eventually. But it’s the smaller deaths before the final one that allow us to move beyond merely believing in the resurrection toward actually living it now.