Josh Irby

Live from Sarajevo

Despair: An Easter Reflection

This is part two of a four-part Easter series. You can read part one—Hope—before continuing.

3928985527_d69b154f3b_zCreative Commons License Hartwig HKD via Compfight

Hold fast to dreams
For if dreams die
Life is a broken-winged bird
That cannot fly.

Everything can change in a day.

The kids piled into the car and we set off from Sarajevo for an overnight trip. The destination was not exotic, but we were together and that was enough.  We ran through the big park and played in the sunshine. We climbed the steps of an ancient fortress and looked at the town below from its ramparts. We took funny pictures and laughed loudly. We ate new food and treated ourselves to double dessert.

It was a family trip—my wife and I, our daughter and son, and the unnamed one in the womb. Soon we would know the sex. Soon, he or she would have a name. Sophia?

Though it was fall, it felt like spring. New life abounded. The warm sunrays tickled our faces through the car window as we drove back home. Rays of life smiled down on us. Our family was growing.

But everything can change in a day.

Halfway back, the blood appeared—slow at first, than with force.  We lied to each other, “It is all OK.” But in our hearts, we knew it was not spring. It was fall. And in the fall, things die. In the fall, green leaves shrivel up and crunch beneath passing feet. In the fall, trees are stripped bare. We were stripped bare.

One day after laughing in the sunshine, we are crying in our shuttered bedroom. The kids didn’t understand. How could they? We didn’t even understand. I tried to be strong for us all, but inside my heart was losing its color, shriveling up, and falling.

It did not get better.

From the dark bedroom to the florescent, sterile doctors office.
From the office, to the cold bed of the operating room.

The blood flowed. Fall was ending; winter was arriving. Death had come.

Everything can change in a day.

And so, 2000 years ago, the blood flowed.

The Hosanna King was stripped bare, like an oak in the fall. The voices that hailed him, now assailed him. With whips and thorns they attempted to extinguish the sun’s light. Then he was lifted up.

He was despised and rejected by men;
A man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief;
And as one from whom men hide their faces
He was despised, and we esteemed him not.

Fall was ending; winter was arriving. Death had come.

In one day, everything changed.

And those staring up at him pinned to wooden beams could only say: we had hoped he was the one to redeem us.

Darkness descended and the sun went cold. The earth ruptured like the hearts of those who had hoped in him. Hosanna was a distant memory, a different world. There were no hosannas today. Only weeping.

The true light, which enlightens everyone, came into the world, yet the world did not recognize him. The world extinguished him.

And as the cold chill of winter overtook the city, they laid Life in a tomb.


Dreams (Langston Hughes)

Hold fast to dreams
For if dreams die
Life is a broken-winged bird
That cannot fly.
Hold fast to dreams
For when dreams go
Life is a barren field
Frozen with snow.

Read the next post in the series—Waiting.

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