The well known spiritual writer Ken Wilber tragically lost his wife Treya to cancer a mere five years after their wedding. In his book “Grace and Grit” he gives an account of their last days together and touchingly recalls what passed between them in the final hours preceding her death. For him these hours remained the most precious and tender moment in his life. This was due mainly to a promise he had made to her on their wedding day and of which she now reminded him.
Five years earlier he had whispered in her ear: “Where have you been? I have been searching for you for lifetimes. I finally found you. I had to slay dragons to find you, you know. And if anything happens, I will find you again”.
At the time Wilber did not exactly know why he had uttered these profound words. Nor did he know where their lives would end. He simply wanted to express how he felt at the time about his special bride and their loving relationship. And now in this hour of death she took him back to the promise he had made. It was as if to hear it again gave her a feeling of tremendous security and peace; as if the whole world would be in order if he could only keep this promise. Therefore her question: “You promise you will find me?” “I promise.” Forever and ever?” “Yes, forever and ever”.
It seems significant to me that I came across this very moving piece during Easter weekend. Wilber’s promise seems to represent in a moving and surprising way the message of Easter which others such as Mary Magdalene (John 20:11-18), Simon Peter (John 21:1-19), the men from Emmaus (Luke 24:13-35) and eventually all the disciples (John 20:19-25, 1 Cor 15:3-8) had experienced, namely that the God of Jesus had finally found them after they had lost their way. God had kept his promise never to leave or forsake them, even when they forsook God, even after they had given up hope in the face of persecution, sickness, betrayal, death.
On account of Jesus’s resurrection, his victory over human weakness – in fact over evil, we may also hear again, just like Treya on her wedding day: “I had to slay dragons to find you, you know. And if anything happens, I will find you again”.
Is there anything more consoling, more renewing and full of hope than this promise that we will be found by God, particularly when we, often with fear and trepidation, have to leave our earthly home and tread the unknown path of death.
According to the Gospel, we may count on this promise…now and forever.