Is the pain worth enduring?


I was thinking today about the untimely death of Lazarus.

His body, separated from his soul, was buried. His sisters, bereaved. His memory, cherished.

All the life, all the potential energy, all the productivity in him, extinguished. What was, wasn’t anymore. What could have been, then only could be longed for.

Bandages bound the body and a tomb surrounded it. Then, agony.

But I was also thinking today about what his sisters didn’t know. They didn’t know what Jesus was going to do.

The miracle.

Sunday I sat silently while the priest read the gospel — John 11:1-45, which I’ve heard a million times. Lazarus dies, Jesus cries, and then, the miracle. But something sticks out now that never had before.

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Jesus had received a message from his friends Mary and Martha. Their brother, Lazarus, was sick.

And Jesus didn’t show up.

He waited two days before he left for Judaea. In the meantime, Lazarus died. His sisters’ souls hurt. And what Jesus said about it to the disciples rocked me.

The funeral.

In a chapel at a Catholic parish on a Friday, I knelt at my seat a few feet in front of the altar, during adoration. I wanted to pray, but got distracted by a casket.

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Through the chapel’s glass wall, I saw a set of pallbearers in dress blues carry it into the commons.

I looked away and tried to pray, again. But I couldn’t, because an inexplicable urge had overcome me — the urge to attend the funeral.

I want to tell you what happened last week.

I am a journalist. Spent about a decade working for the Tampa Bay Times before I quit and moved to Virginia, where I freelance write full-time for Virginia’s largest paper.

Last week, I pursued four or five stories. Conducted interviews. Took pictures. Didn’t sleep enough.

Business as usual.

But multiple times in a few days, the subjects of stories I’d planned to write asked a question that grinds my gears: “Can I read what you write before it prints?”

HECK no.

Why I don’t miss Snapchat.

I don’t miss Snapchat. At all. And for lots of reasons. But one of them is the same reason that a Verily editor who recently wrote about Snapchat is sick of the app: some of its filters “Photoshop” your dang face.

She wrote:

In one swipe, my face was transformed to standards that the fashion and beauty industry has been pushing for decades: wide eyes, a petite nose, a thinner face, and a crystal clear complexion. I felt, in a word, ugly.

The filters she decries can be defended as “for fun.” But they are also disguises that reinforce the lies that the shapes of our faces and eyes, the tones and types of our skin, should align with a set of standards that human bodies don’t naturally meet.