I told Ed, my old neighbour in Saskatchewan, that it had been our time to deal with confusion. Things had spiraled out of control, like when you drop a glass that shatters, into many pieces.
It began two weeks ago when we heard the news that a friend had died suddenly. Her death was confusing for our friend had not been facing a major health problem, but was abruptly dead, with her husband and seven children left to pick up the pieces of their broken hearts. It was a hidden health condition that snatched her life away in the same way that heart attacks and strokes steal lives in a few hours.
Her seven children, aging from seven to 18, are lost in the confusion of why did this happen? Confusion means we are without clear or satisfying answers. It tends to go against our human nature to admit that we do not have all the explanations for why and when things happen. We like to think in terms of the ideal that a mother will see her children grown with children of their own, but the reality may not match the ideal. The ideal in our minds becomes a confusion between our opinion and the facts of the matter.
Because of some remodeling in our condo, we have had several pickups and deliveries scheduled in the last few weeks. None of the deliveries have been on schedule with lots of confusion about where the shipments are – in the warehouse or on the delivery truck unable to complete their deliveries as scheduled. We tend to live by appointments, and in one sense they give us control. We think we know when various things will happen, but at best, they are just a guide of what may or may not occur.
Confusion can be mild or a total lack of clear thinking as in the case of crippling grief. The apostles in the Bible had a period of great confusion not only over Jesus’ death but also about his resurrection from the dead. Although Jesus had tried to prepare them for his death at Jerusalem, they were confused, frightened, struggling to get a firm grip on both what Jesus’ death and resurrection meant to them and their lives.
On the third day, the women had gone to the tomb of Jesus to anoint His dead body but found two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning. The men said to the women, “Jesus is not here; He is risen.” The women returned and told the 11 apostles, but they did not believe the women for their words seemed to them to be nonsense.
Later that same evening, Jesus appeared to the disciples as they met together. He appeared in their midst and said, “Peace be with you.” They were frightened and thought that they were seeing a ghost. He said to them; “Why are you troubled and why do doubts arise in your minds? Look at my hands and feet. It is I myself! Touch me and see; a ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have.” Their confusion did not vanish, but joy and amazement began to replace their fear and sorrow.