bittersweet

by Elizabeth de Barros

When my father died in the autumn of ’01, my sister asked her friend to cut down a few bushels of  bittersweet from his farm to pass out to the mourners graveside. A token gesture to symbolize not only his death, but his life. Creation speaks reminders of this rough-hewn life in the seasonal offering of a wild vine found by the side of the road.

This morning the nation of Haiti stares back at us and we’re at a loss. Rich man, poor man, we’re bereft of the kinds of supplies they need. What to give a country that has lost hundreds of thousands of citizens as a result of an unexpected moment in time?

Jonathan Torgovnik/Reportage for CNN

Some may be desperate to deny, but struggle is the middle name of every human being;  I know it’s mine. That we’re living in a fallen world is fact; we must endure the crack in the mirror that distorts and still get by. Do we remember our origins?

Once the struggle is accepted, living becomes rooted in something far deeper than what’s found smeared across Hollywood tabloids or blared live on HDTV.  Reality becomes truly larger than life and, if honest, may be too much to bear at first. This life is not only high drama, it’s too brief and unfair.

But who said life was meant to be fair? Who makes up the rules? Raw footage screams and says it’s all meaningless.

But if we step back to pause and consider the scales by which God measures out His judgments, we might learn something of His righteousness. Mass graves are gruesome and inhumane, but a historic reality, nonetheless. If we’re unwilling to watch, we can at least acknowledge that this life is beyond us; flesh and blood wasn’t meant to live forever. Everybody gets the time they’re allotted, even the guy with a shotgun to his head. Face it, we’re subject to the One who has subjected us, whether we ascribe to His greatness or not.

Relief efforts in Haiti depict the best of what’s right in this world, help can’t come fast enough. Thank God for the courageous souls suited up in selflessness to do whatever they can to bring order and sense to the ravages of pain and chaos. But let’s not be fooled into thinking this is just another cause for social justice to keep us busy and feeling good about ourselves until the next disaster arrives at our neighbor’s door. Haiti is a reminder to the whole world that there is One who sits on the Throne and He is knocking on every door.


For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly,
but because of him who subjected it,
in hope that the creation itself will be set free
from its bondage to corruption
and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God.

-Romans 8:20-21



Click here: Bittersweet




Advertisements