Do you remember that commercial for a cell phone carrier that involved a man walking a few steps and then stopping and asking: Can you hear me now? The idea was that there are dead spots around us and we need to locate and fix them.
In a sense, the commercial is also parable. If we’re honest, each of us has dead spots, too. And like the fellow walking around the countryside looking for better connections, we need to locate our dead spots and let some life back into them.
We all could use a little more life, if you know what I mean.
Sometimes life itself feels pretty bleak. Divorce numbs us. A spouse or a child or a parent dies and it’s as though Life and Love have left our souls and taken up residence somewhere over the rainbow. Toxic chemicals go to work at killing the cancer cells, and our bodies feel like a battleground and a tomb.
Then there are the small, daily dead spots that we all develop. The places inside of us that we wall off out of fear and anxiety. We won’t let people in or take the risk of letting our true selves out. Instead of connecting with others, we find a dark space and roll a rock in front of the entrance for protection.
And parts of us begin to decay and die.
We see this happening in our politics right now, don’t we? All the harrumphing about building walls and pushing others away because we’re afraid of them and we don’t like them. We long to hide inside a heavily-armed fortress, one that’s more of a tomb than a home.
A collective dead spot.
We all have dead spots. We carve them a bit deeper every time we make a choice driven by fear and despair and hatred. We settle into our dead spaces and get comfortable. Nothing can hurt me now, right? We even become so accustomed to the stench of decay that we ignore what the smell is trying to tell us.
Something is dying. Parts of us are dying.
But here’s the fantastic thing: We’re never trapped inside our tombs. Even when we’ve rolled a heavy stone across the entrance, there’s always Someone relentlessly pushing the stone away and inviting us to step out of the putrid air and come alive again.
Death-and-resurrection is our daily experience.
The Giver of Life loves us enough to let us choose. And often, we choose darkness and dead spots. We let our fears seal us off from each other and from love. But the Giver also loves us too much to let us stay in those deathly places.
Instead, Someone is relentlessly rolling away our stones and inviting us to step outside, feel the sunlight, hear the music, and take the risk of joining in the great party. We’re encouraged to dance with those whom we fear, to love those whom we dislike, to heal those decayed parts of ourselves.
To be resurrected.
It’s OK that we’re still broken in many ways. We might be covered with dried blood and sweat. Unsteady and unsure. Doubting and wondering. But all we need to do is take that first shaky step out of the darkness and head toward the music and the bright party lights.
It’s OK if we’re not in a party mood. We don’t have to feel festive. We can sit in a corner and keep to ourselves for a while as the music plays and people dance around us. We might even notice Someone sitting next to us who is eager to hold our hand and hear our story.
Eventually, we recognize that we’re hungry and there’s all of this amazing food and drink available to us. And who knows, maybe we even get a little energy back and we feel like dancing with another grimy soul who has just left their own tomb. We summon the courage to extend a hand to someone whom we once feared, acknowledging that we’re all suitable dance partners at this party.
Once dead, but now alive again.