Beyond the Veil
There is a veil that exists within all our lives. There have been moments when I have seen it suddenly appear, only to vanish again. It is in these moments when the foundations of this life suddenly crumble before my eyes. When my fears are laid bare and I cannot look them in the eye. The day this veil took on a tangible form was the day we nearly lost Shannon. I had glimpsed it before but this was the first time I stared it straight in the face. It was a beautiful day, idyllic even. We were saying goodbye to family, loading into the vehicle on a quiet street. Shannon wanted to run back into the house to fetch something, “oh alright Shannon, be quick”. We continued our farewells and then we heard the sound of an approaching car. It was about time for Shannon to return and Scott sensed that something was wrong. In that moment, he turned around to see her running full speed towards the street and the oncoming car, out of the vision of the driver and he hollered for her to stop. She stopped just in time as the car harmlessly passed by. But it was too late. The scene of what could have been was there in broad daylight. The veil had shifted.
In the hours that followed, I could not get what I had seen out of my head. Disaster, death, unbearable loss. Every parent out there knows the veil of which I speak. And so we think, we must be more careful, take precautions, go to any and all lengths to avoid what we fear the most. But with the news headlines of school buses crashing, crazy men with guns, and paediatric cancer patients we must wonder what can we really do? There are no guarantees and so we live with the fear of the veil lurking in the background of our everyday lives, just crossing our fingers that it won’t be us. Please God, not us. This fear becomes our bondage.
So now again, this becomes my confession. I have lived with this fear, tried to ignore its existence, plugged my ears and shut my eyes singing “la la la la la” at the top of my lungs. I also confess that when this fear walks the pathways of my mind I feel a hopelessness invade like a soul sickness and the burden becomes too much to bear. For now the realization arrives in its fullest that as much as I wish it I cannot hold on to the lives of my children any more than I can hold on to my own. Because even though I may not experience the sudden tearing of the veil through tragedy, it will be torn down nonetheless. Life cannot continue on as it is. What is beautiful degrades, what is young becomes old, there is a beast on the loose ravaging within every second of every day.
This is the problem of evil, it triumphs over us in the end after all, despite our careful planning. And we think that it’s the dragon we glimpse behind the veil but if we look closer we can see that the veil is the dragon. Evil is seducing us with the illusion that is our everyday lives. The veil has us duped into thinking we have control. The mundane masquerades as reality. So then what is beyond the veil? Only when our vision becomes big enough can we see. Beyond the veil the problem of evil is solved. Destruction, death, and decay are dealt with and are no longer to be feared. Our hope is restored and the dragon is thrown into the sea.
So how is the fear within conquered? “Look!” Open your eyes. He comes on the clouds of heaven. (Rev 1:7) He says to all of us “Don’t be afraid! I am the First and the Last. I am the living one who died. Look, I am alive forever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and the grave.” (Rev 1:17, 18) Fix your eyes on Him, lay a hold of the hope he has given us by his grace and the veil fades away. It no longer has any power.
And now instead of fear becoming our legacy to our children, freedom is instead. The freedom to say “To live is Christ and to die is gain.” (Phil 1:20)