I read with interest much of the press on remembering 9/11, eleven years later. A phrase in a CBS.com article caught my eye: “… subdued ceremonies suggested it’s time to move on after a decade of remembrance.” Really? I bet it depends on who you ask.
I know from walking with many families through thick grief that moving on can be easier suggested than enacted. If your heart still aches, moving on seems to be what you most want to do and at the same time what you swear you’ll never do. I also know that those promoting the importance of it are often not themselves immediately tinged by the pain. “They just need to move on” --- often uttered off-handedly at the bridge table or during halftime banter. (What I think folks are saying is: It’s hard to stay connected to someone who is grieving.)
But while a nation quietly considers how long is long enough, let us ponder another possibility. For followers of Jesus, maybe “moving on” from big pain is never the goal. What if the good hope is not to get past anything, to forget about it or put it behind us. Could healing be a kind of Spirit-born transformation in yourself that makes living with the past a viable option? Rather than erasing your pain, the Lord seems interested in subduing it so that is does not harm or hinder any more. Granted, a journey from Friday pain to Sunday transformation may take time. But in the realm of a risen Jesus, that the journey is possible at all is a stunning gift for those of us hindered by past pain.
Moving into grief to find healing, as opposed to moving on: What else would we expect from the hands of a Teacher who, even after the stunning mystery of the resurrection, still bears the deadly scars in his hands and side. The marks remain, only now instead of wounds of death, they are markers of transformation. It's not so much that Jesus has moved on, it's more that new life has moved in.
May it be so, in God’s good time, for all who hurt.