John A. Tures: A different kind of 'resurrection'

jtures@lagrange.eduMarch 29, 2013 

At the Azalea Storytelling Festival in LaGrange, we were treated to performances by nationally renowned storyteller Donald Davis. And whether you are a devout person in your religion, an atheist, or having a crisis of faith, I’m sure you’ll appreciate this story this Easter.

Davis related a story of his father, one of several brothers who were all close. One by one, in their sixties, they all passed away from heart attacks in a short period of time. The only survivor was his father, until one fateful morning.

Davis got a call from his cousin. His father had died of (you guessed it) a heart attack. Davis needed to get his family ready, make arrangements at work, get packed, etc., which took some time. By the time he and his family were ready, a few hours had passed.

"If I had left as soon as I got the call, we would have been there by now," Davis mused. He called the relatives at his dad's house, just to let them know he was headed there.

"This is Joe Davis," his father answered. Donald Davis was stunned. All he could manage to say was, "But you're supposed to be dead!"

It turns out that there was another family with the Davis name, where another Joe Davis had died of a heart attack, and another woman named Kay (his cousin's name), called the operator to ask for a Donald Davis, without specifying where. The call went to him, instead of the other Donald Davis.

What it meant was that Donald Davis got another 20 or more years to interact with his father, hear so many more family stories that he relates to others (including my classes once every two years), and much more time for bonding, as well as having his kids get to know their grandfather better. It's another great story for the "Spiritual Sunday" that the Azalea Storytelling Festival offers every March for the young and old.

This Easter is a time for Christians, rejoicing in the return of Jesus Christ, when his mother, apostles and female followers were sure he was similarly dead, were similarly stunned when they learned he was again alive, and treasured another chance to be with Him and take those life lessons to heart. It was a chance to atone for mistakes made. That was especially the case for Peter, who denied Jesus' existence to save his own skin. And all would get the spirit later to carry on the message.

But for Christians and non-Christians alike, we all have a second chance during this holiday which is often reserved for family. It's a second chance to connect with that family member, distant relative who has become too distant, a friend from school or work with whom we've lost touch, to bring them back into our lives, as well as take the time to remember those we love whom we've lost.

I hope you get that chance, just as Donald Davis did one spring morning long ago. Every Easter season I was told to give up something for Lent (like video games, from which I've never recovered in gaming prowess). Last year I tried fasting.

But maybe the better thing is to do something rather than not do something. And that "doing" might involve reaching out to someone who needs it these days.

John A. Tures, associate professor of political science, LaGrange College; jtures@lagrange.edu.

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