Monday, April 25, 2011

Christ's Miracle Power Transforms

My brother passed away not too long ago at the age of 55. We had always been bitter rivals as we grew up, and even in adulthood, couldn't break through that pattern completely. Much to my disappointment, he remained so much unlike me as the years passed that I was never able to have a real heart-to-heart talk with him. He never forgot a slight, and carried grudges that were 50 years-old. He suffered from mental illness and was forced to take medication that shortened his life.

My parents' atheistic philosophy of 'progressivism' made his life far more painful and dysfunctional. For one thing, they named him Cedric, which would make any kid's life tough. My parents pegged him as an 'innocent victim' with 'special needs' before he was two-years-old. My sister and I - who were a few years older - were frequently blamed for making him unhappy.  The normal rough and tumble of sibling rivalry was seen by my parents as vicious assaults by two selfish older children who would never give the "baby of the family" a break. Immediately, Ced grasped this advantage and with faultless instinct played it to the hilt. He always knew how to provoke a fight with one or another of us, and come out looking as pure as the driven snow.

That's not entirely true. Occasionally he would be caught in the act, and our parents would see the phony facade. But because of their own selfish needs they quickly returned to comfortable habits, granting him 'affirmative action' and a pass to get in front of the line, so to speak. This kept Ced from growing up and learning to accomplish real things. When he tried, my parents had a way of dragging him back into the sick dynamic; which worsened with their inevitable divorce. You see how 'progressive' they were? His suffering was tremendous, and he paid a horrible price to get what he thought he wanted, his parents' attention and unconditional love.

He had an emotional collapse at 13, and the drugs he was given then were not much help. By the mid '70's, though, medicinal lithium was discovered, and he was able to live a more normal life. But the long term effect was kidney failure, and he had to be put on dialysis for the last 20 years of his life. Still, he lived much longer than many doctors had predicted.

Our family was a Petri dish for 20th Century progressivism.  In an earlier age, Ced would have not been indulged in  his unreasonable and incompatible needs. If we had grown up in a less stressful place, on a farm, for example, our family would have gotten emotional and spiritual support from a church and a congregation. Farm life would have demanded we work together for our survival.

My brother had an innate sense of right and wrong which always surfaced in his love of the Old West, and particularly Wyatt Earp and the marshals of lore. As we got older, we had many satisfying conversations about history and the moral issues that were clearly in play back then. He recognized that something was very wrong in this amoral world. That was one thing we could discuss and agree on. He got me to read Stuart Lake's biography of Earp, which turned out to be very good.

In the last two months of Cedric's life he had a premonition that his end was near and he thought a lot about God. This led to great clarity about who he was, what had happened to him, and why. He saw that he'd been run  over and mangled by the machinery of the modern industrial world; its godlessness and corruption. Ced had been sent 'into the system' of modernism; psychologists and counselors. He hadn't previously been strong enough to overcome the evil. Few of us are. The fulminating Satanic energy of our time is like Medusa, too hideous to look at, and fatal to boot. But we can overcome it with Christ's help.

He called me in those last two months, and I taught him a few prayers. It was obvious that all along he had been growing in secret. Not a lot, but enough to make all the difference in the world to him - and me - in the end. We finally had those heart-to-heart talks, and he confirmed everything I'm stating here. We talked of brotherly love. He made his peace with God. I know for certain he was taken up into the higher realms, and has an entirely new and infinitely better life.

This is what the miracle of the Resurrection is all about, you and me, experiencing a total transformation.