I came across the blog of Stephen Marsh this morning. He's an active Latter-day Saint, whose blog is subtitled, "Loss and death have happened to me, but I have survived them, they do not define me," which I found beautiful.
This entry was particularly poignant. He describes a period of great loss in his life, including the deaths of three children within four and a half years. And then he says, "I have learned that in life or death, that Jesus is the Christ. That life is in Christ, not in other things."
While I disagree factually, I agree symbolically. I find myself more in line with this statement from the Quakers' FAQ page: "Quakers have always held that Christ as spirit is universally available, and has been at work since the beginning of creation."
I've experienced the underlying peace and transcendent love in the midst of excruciating suffering that Stephen describes. Maybe that's what Michelangelo was trying to portray in his Pietà when he made Mary look so peaceful and even happy as she held her dead son. It reminds me of John Rutter's setting of "A Gaelic Blessing" which I've sung several times in various choirs.
That peace, that love, I believe it comes from within and I mean to reclaim it, without the authoritarian dogma and condemnation. Because I believe I deserve it.