ARE WE WAITING FOR A SAVIOUR?
By Maryanne Pope
What if Jesus came back, as promised…but then turned around and left again because He was so disgusted with what he saw here?
It’s an interesting question…and one I inadvertently explored when I found myself on a real humdinger of a psychological, emotional and spiritual journey after the death of my husband, John.
Perhaps journey isn’t the best word to use. Plunging headfirst into a long, dark, seemingly bottomless pit of sorrow, anger, despair, confusion, denial and self-pity is a more apt description of that perilous first year of grief.
Speaking of plunging, John’s death was the result of a preventable fall at an unsafe workplace…your basic cause & effect stuff.
But in that first year as a young and terrified widow, reality wasn’t particularly palatable. So instead, I grabbed on to a belief that sounded pretty damn good at the time: that God has a Divine plan for all of us.
It worked. Believing this temporarily made me feel better.
But then I got to thinking (call me crazy) that since there is a plan, the logical next step would be to figure out what it is…at least the John and Maryanne portion of it.
Well, one thought led to another and I came up with the brilliant idea that since we all seem to be waiting around for The Saviour to return…maybe John was him. Maybe John was the long-awaited Second Coming of Christ!
Hilarious now, I know. But in my shattered state, I figured that would be an acceptable reason for John getting taken out of the game at 32…far more acceptable than something as mundane as a missing safety railing.
Again, reality wasn’t cutting it in terms of the feeling-good-again portion of the program.
Now, as a story-teller, my spectacular (albeit false) revelation made for some much-needed lighter moments in my book, A Widow’s Awakening.
However, now that more than a decade has past since John’s death, I’m realizing that as ridiculous as my idea was, perhaps this Saviour-belief warrants further examination.
For whether or not those of us in the West (and elsewhere in the world) are individual believers in Christianity or not, I suspect the underlying fundamental assumption that Christianity (and subsequently Western society) was founded on – Christ as the Saviour – is so deeply embedded in our individual and collective psyches, we aren’t even aware of it anymore.
If this is the case, then perhaps it wasn’t so strange that the shock of John’s sudden death dislodged, if you will, this Saviour-belief buried deep within me – and sent it bubbling it to the surface at a time when I so desperately wanted to be saved…from the hurt.
Hypothetically, let’s say Jesus did “come back,” what would he have to say about the state of our world?
A) “I love what you’ve done to the planet since I left…keep up the great work! A couple more decades and you’ll pretty much have trashed the joint – but I’ll still love you…and so will my Dad!”
B) “You IDIOTS! You’ve really mucked things up now…I can’t fix this mess! Nobody can! That’s it…I’m going back to the fluffy clouds to eat cream cheese and prance through a field of wild flowers.”
I’m betting on B) – and frankly, I wouldn’t blame Him. And I doubt he’d have used the word ‘mucked’ when the alternative would be far more appropriate.
But let’s say Jesus did stick around for the Saving part of The Plan. How exactly would He accomplish this feat?
Sweep a magic wand across all the bad stuff and see it magically go away?
Possibly – but not a lot of lessons would be learned by the worker bees (that’s us)…so then the poor guy would just have to come back again in another few years.
Not a particularly effective strategy for a Saviour.
That’s because it’s a myth.
And myths are not supposed to be taken literally. “Stories are tools to understand valuable human lessons,” wrote Northrop Frye, “not truths in themselves.”
Please click here to listen to an audio clip (45 sec) from A Widow’s Awakening (“Sam” is John).
I’m really beginning to wonder if, on some deeper level, many people are waiting for a Divine entity to swoop down and fix the many significant and overwhelming issues we face, such as climate change. For this would help explain our delay, as a sentient species, in taking deliberate action to significantly cut our greenhouse gas emissions.
But the reality is, the longer we wait – consciously or not – for someone else to rescue us from the perilous path we’re on, the less likely we’ll be able to save ourselves in time.
And I can safely say, from personal experience, we will have to.
So as not to end this article on a completely depressing note, here’s a thought by John O’Donohue, author of Anam Cara, a Book of Celtic Wisdom: “For too long we have believed that the divine is outside of us.”
In other words, what if we are the Saviour we are waiting for?
Food for thought
On a final note, I heard a man being interviewed on the radio the other day, in regards to the Alcoholics Anonymous program. Here’s what he said:
“Fantasy is what we use to avoid facing reality. Faith is what we use to give us the courage to face it.”
Now that’s an idea I can believe in…and more importantly, act on.
WIDOW AWAKENS TO NEW LIFE IN CANDID BOOK ABOUT DEATH
Thur Feb 2, 2012 – What would you do if your life’s dream was granted to you…in exchange for your soul mate’s life? That was the harsh reality for Maryanne Pope, when her police officer husband died in the line of duty at age 32.
Const. John Petropoulos fell to his death in Sept 2000, after stepping through an unmarked false ceiling (there was no safety railing in place) during the investigation of a suspected break-and-enter. There ended up being no intruder in the building.
Hours before John fell, he and Maryanne had an argument about her not making her dream of writing a priority. “We were at the dog park,” says Pope, “and John looked at me and said, ‘Twenty years from now, if you still haven’t written a book, just remember that will have been your choice.’”
“That was our last conversation,” says Pope. “The next time I saw John was in the emergency room.”
Please click here to listen to an audio clip (1 min 30 sec) from the creative non-fiction book, A Widow’s Awakening.
Two weeks after John’s death, Pope began writing what would become A Widow’s Awakening.
Eight years later, in Sept 2008, Maryanne published the book through her company, Pink Gazelle Productions. The print version has sold 1500 copies. With the audio version now available, the author hopes to reach more people with the powerful message that what happens to us matters far less than what we choose to do with it.
“John’s death was a brutal wake-up call,” admits Pope, “about the importance of working hard to achieve one’s dream, instead of just talking about it. But it was also an incredible awakening of my soul to the realization of just how interconnected we all are…even in death.”
In a strange twist of fate, it was John’s dream of policing that ended up giving Maryanne the opportunity to pursue her dream of writing. “Because John died in the line of duty,” Pope explains, “this meant I was entitled to receive his paycheque for the rest of my life. For a writer, this was a dream come true.”
But it came at tremendous cost. “Nothing I do will bring John back. But I do have a choice on how to live my life. And I choose to honour him – and myself – by gratefully accepting the freedom his death has given me and helping make the world a better place through my writing, my company and the John Petropoulos Memorial Fund.”
The candour of A Widow’s Awakening is striking a chord with readers.
“WOW!” wrote one person. “As soon as I read the first line, I couldn’t put the book down. The truth on soul-mates, hope, after-life, happiness, sadness…you definitely told your tale as it is.”
“I just finished reading A Widow’s Awakening. I laughed, I cried, I reflected,” wrote another. “I wanted you to know that it had exactly the effect on me that I imagine you wanted for your readers. My eyes, ears and heart were opened to many things, including the belief and trust in love and soul mates (which I myself have lost sight of) and the importance of passion and commitment to the work we do, regardless of what it is.”
To purchase the audio book, click here.
For further inquiries, please contact:
POLICE WIDOW OFFERS HOPE THROUGH CANDID BOOK ABOUT GRIEF
Feb 1st, 2012 – When Maryanne Pope’s husband, a police officer, fell to his death in Sept 2000, after stepping through an unmarked false ceiling (there was no safety railing in place) during the investigation of a suspected Break and Enter in progress, Maryanne was launched on a freefall of her own through grief.
Eight years later, in Sept 2008, Maryanne published her creative non-fiction book, A Widow’s Awakening, through her company, Pink Gazelle Productions. The print version has now sold 1500 copies. With the audio version now available, the author hopes to reach more people with her message about the immense difficulty of accepting the unacceptable.
“A Widow’s Awakening,” Pope admits, “is not an easy read, I realize that.”
Click here to hear a short audio clip (1 min 30 sec) from A Widow’s Awakening.
“You almost want to apologize,” wrote Michael Platt of the Calgary Sun newspaper, “reading Maryanne Pope’s account of her husband’s death. So vivid is her description, you feel like an intruder…a voyeuristic journey both heart wrenching and uncomfortable.”
“But by demonstrating the reality of my grief,” Pope explains, “the book is hitting a chord with readers who are coming to terms with their own loss – or supporting someone who is, whether that’s in a professional or personal capacity.”
“I could not put the book down,” wrote Brenda C, an A Widow’s Awakening reader. “Even when my eyes were swollen shut from crying, I continued to read. After 5 years, my grief is still pretty raw but it comes in waves and tides. I had 18 months of counselling and that did not come close to the comfort I got from your book. I laughed and I cried and I felt connected. Your book gave me hope.”
“I have been reading your book and want to say thank you,” wrote Sherry S, another A Widow’s Awakening reader. “It’s so beautiful and so real. Like you, I lived it. The love of my life was killed at work in September 2000. He was 52. I miss him so much and it still hurts. Your book is a wonderful gift…somehow I don’t feel so alone.”
Brenda and Sherry are not alone. Grief is a fact of life. Although each person mourns the loss of a loved one differently, there are often striking similarities in our emotional and psychological responses. “I am a professional in the community with a counselling background,” wrote Paula J., “and my fellow colleagues spoke highly of your book. They stated that all professional bereavement counsellors should read A Widow’s Awakening because of the raw, honest description of grief you experienced.”
Losing a loved one can hurt beyond belief. “But by sharing our stories,” says Pope, “we realize that regardless of what we may be experiencing in our journey through grief, we are not alone…or crazy. Rather, we are just trying to make it through the day on our way to a happier, healthier future.”
For further information on A Widow’s Awakening or to purchase a print copy, please click here. Bulk rates are available.
Please click here to purchase the audio book.
For further inquiries, please contact:Sarah Hourihan
Public Relations, Pink Gazelle Productions Inc