A Jessica Moment
Earlier today I was watching a play about a man who returns home after his father died and all the strong feelings this brought up. It brought tears to my eyes as I remembered my own Dad who was a very difficult man. During the last 6 months before he died I began to know him a little bit better in all his vulnerabilities and anxieties and realised that he was just a man trying to get on with his life as best as he could.
Just as the episode was finishing there was a knock on my door. I opened it feeling a little irritated, brushing away my tears in an attempt to appear ‘normal’. There on the doorstep was a beautiful little blonde girl of about 7 years of age with her Dad. She held out a leaflet to me and said ‘My name is Jessica and Jesus is preparing to die and I would love it if you could come along to this event to talk about it’. I took the leaflet from her hand and said thank you and she turned to go and I simply said ‘Well done, Jessica, you’ve done really well’ and her face lit up and her Dad said he couldn’t get a word in as she loved telling people about Jesus so much.
Here in these simple moments, it felt like a spotlight was being shone on my life. Family themes of difficult relationships, the death of my dad and the more recent death of my mum, the grief of never having had my own children and the yearning for something beyond myself – whether it be called Spirituality, God, the Divine or simply Love.
These are some of the issues that we have to deal with in later life. They are the crossroads, the transitions that either turn us inwards to become smaller (or as my sister says ’we turn into our parents’), or they wake us up and motivate us to seek outwardly what we truly desire and how we want to be of service in the latter years of our lives.
I’m glad Jessica knocked on my door as I was feeling so much sadness and grief and she reminded me that there is always hope and that out of death there springs new beginnings. And sometimes we need a little nudge to remember this. Have you had a Jessica moment recently?
I wrote this piece a couple of years ago but it never got published and suddenly Easter is coming up again which was around the time that Jessica knocked on my door two years ago to tell me that Jesus was preparing to die. The rawness of my mum and dad’s death has faded although grief can still come up like a wave enveloping me unexpectedly and then, like the great ocean, recede again.
Reflecting on what a ‘Jessica Moment’ meant to me I realised that it was those little moments when we are offered the opportunity to really wake up from our daily lives. I can still see her eager, shining face as she looked up into mine. I’ve come a long way in those two years and, you know, Jessica did wake me up. She challenged me to think about God and my own Spirituality and what I wanted to express in the world by reminding me that we are all going to die and, unlike Jesus, most of us are not going to rise from the dead. Jessica told me that Jesus was preparing to die and now I can see that we are all preparing to die except most of us don’t admit it or even want to think about it.
In those intermittent two years I have been on a voyage of deep discovery with the One Spirit Interfaith Foundation and am slowly moving towards my Ordination as a Minister in July. This month we have been learning about how to hold Funerals and all things associated with death and dying. I’m reading a wonderful book called the Five Invitations by Frank Ostaseski. It’s about discovering what death can teach us about living fully. The first invitation is ‘Don’t Wait’................ Don’t wait for a Jessica Moment or another moment, don’t put off what or how you want to live now. In the next instance it may be too late. Live Now and create your own Jessica Moment for yourself and other people. And definitely don’t turn into your parents!
Image by rmt from www.pixabay.com