Listening to a clip from a mother who was shot in Dallas, the Sign showed up again.

She was describing the chaos. Though unused to the press lights, she was articulating brilliantly, authentically her concern for her boys around her that night: the dark fear of something emerging, the urgency to protect. And then she choked. What caught her twice was when she tried to describe what she saw when the officers near her went down. Each, in a moment, suddenly felled. Last breaths blown out. Lifeless now. Gone.

This is the wake up call, this thing we call death. It is a horror we simply cannot fathom the depths of. When we try to put words to it, we choke.

I believe death is the ultimate sign. In it’s devastating coldness it undoes us. All our complacency is shattered. It hits in different ways, in different times of life, but it hits/will hit every single one of us. We are never prepared. Few can get past it.

6 years ago today, I cradled a lifeless body in my arms. A little girl with chubby cheeks and toes just like her mamas, was now gone from us. Robbed. Ripped away. Never have I understood the gravity of life as in those moments. She was entirely new, perfectly formed.  We all were choking, and still clutch at this loss. Death is a fearsome, irreversible divide.

Other writers have tried to articulate this. C.S. Lewis calls grappling with death’s darkness “a severe mercy”. Lori Roeleveld calls it “a weight worthy of a holy pause.” Jesus wept in front of it. He too choked, even when fully aware, even when He knew what soon He would be doing to reverse death’s dark dive. And time goes on in front of this for those still alive. Time ticks forward (never backward, never still). Moments come and moments go but each of us meets an end.

This blog is the musings of one sobered observer. My visual work is intricately related to what is presently on my mind. There is work going on in my studio, I may or may not post that. But if this is the last thing I ever write, I would want you to know beyond the subtle visuals, that the Author of beauty and order, the Creator is working now to win your soul. He choked at death even as He faced it down. He thought of you “Father forgive them” even as he breathed painful last breaths. He took the bullet. He alone has brought LIFE back out of the ground. You need to explore what He won for you. Because your life matters.


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