Updated: Sep 10
There is an old wives tale: “Death comes in threes.” Not sure of is validity but as I got younger and the elders grew older; I would be so fearful that someone would pass away because of the thought having three heartbreaks as opposed to one. Death brings grief and it has no expiration date especially with our loved ones; you just get better at living with it but never get over it.
Chadwick Boseman, actor, known for the iconic Black Panther, Marshall, Get On Up, 42: Jackie Robinson, 21 Bridges and Message from the King, just to name a few. His movies gave honor to people who made history and gave minorities hope during highly oppressive times. I always gravitated to his movies because I believed he was trying to convey a message of hope through his acting and to ensure American Blacks were characterized in a positive light. I was happy to find out that I was on target when I listened to this speech he gave at his Alma mater, Howard University.
I grew up as a tomboy, having only brothers and male cousins, loving the Xmen, The Justice League, Ultra Man, and my personal favorite, Underdog cartoon. Although, I love chick flicks, I will be the first to go see an action packed movie. I was waiting in anticipation to see, Chadwick in more movies, especially Black Panther 2! Unexpectedly, I received a text from my daughter that Chadwick Boseman had passed away. I immediately replied that it was a lie because of all the hoax deaths on the internet nowadays; but to my dismay, it was pure truth.
With COVID-19, 186, 314 deaths in the U.S., death has almost become commonplace but no matter how high the number, it represents an actual person who is loved and will be missed. Chadwick Boseman had no idea of the magnitude that the Black Panther movie would give young minorities, as well as adults as he dawned this character of dignity that gave hope and promise to a demographic to see themselves as they really are...Kings and Queens being fitted for their crowns. “The film-unprecedented in being a big-budget studio tentpole featuring a virtually all black cast…the story described as a tale of black power and black pride in addition to its superhero themes, follows T’Challa as he is sworn in as king of Wakanda, a cloaked, technologically advanced nation in Africa that is home to the exotic metal vibranium, the source of Black Panther’s power (Pamela McClintock, 2018).” To date: Black Panther ranks
#2 All Time Domestic Box Office for Super Hero Movies
#3 All Time Domestic Box Office for Walt Disney Movies
#4 All Time Domestic Box Office
#5 All Time Worldwide Box Office for Super Hero Movies
#8 All Time Worldwide Box Office for Walt Disney Movies
#10 All Time International Box Office for Super Hero Movies
#12 All Time Worldwide Box Office (The Numbers thenumbers.com).
Death brings back memories: I remember walking home from school and a neighbor’s son was hit by a 18 wheeler while trying to cross the street, a young man who teased me almost daily in school committed suicide, and within six months arriving to our unit in Europe, a young soldier was killed when he fell from a catwalk and hit by a car. I questioned then and I still question, “When we die, have we accomplished what our birth intended?” I don’t have all the answers, but I love the quote I found on Chadwick’s Instagram’s account by Muhammad Ali, “Don’t count the days, make each day count!” However, I do believe Chadwick Boseman did exactly that, he accomplished in a short time as an actor some are still desiring to achieve. In addition, he equally supported humanity as a giver and mentor. Chadwick, you did well and we celebrate your life of seven to its completion; whoever God has chosen for you to pass the baton, may he or she be like Elisha and have a double portion of gifts.
Death brings life: I remember when my mother passed away, I could not move for six days but on the seventh day; I ate and prepared for her sunset service. I still grieve and every so often, the heartbreak resurfaces. However, in her death, life sprang wide open and I had to finally chase after my dreams with vengeance! I actually went to a casting call and made the cut but turned it down because they were taping the weekend I would travel to Connecticut to say my final goodbye to my best friend, Tami, who passed away from a five year bout of colon cancer, like Chadwick. Sometimes I wonder what would have happened if I had taken the gig but I do NOT regret my decision.
Death brings restoration: Through all the sadness, unanswered questions, and nostalgic moments; the days slowly but surely became beautifully broken like kintsukuroi. In the same room my mother was terminally ill is now loud, noisy, and full of clutter due to the birth of two absolutely perfect grand kids! Instead of white crisp sheets and the smell of disinfectant is now colorful, fuzzy blankets, squeaky toys, laughter, oh so much laughter, tantrums, Elmo, Luna, and Molly of Denali. Every time I enter the room, I cannot imagine that there was ever sadness associated within those four walls!
Chadwick and Tami make me realize that everyday should make us grateful, every week must be celebrated, every month cherished and every year considered a blessing to be able to make a difference in the world. Chadwick portrayed, King T’Challa and in his death; his remembrance is fitting to a real earthly king. His accomplishments and life without complaint are something we should all emulate, meaning it is our call to action. Bishop Dale Bronner says, “Don’t give tears when action is what’s needed. ”This is not me instructing you to not to mourn but move intentionally while mourning.
Speaking of royalty, Jesus, wept when Lazarus died. Isn’t it incredible that Jesus who, encountered all sin and temptation but never sinned, decided to show his true humanity and transparency by shedding tears to let us know that its OK to cry and to mourn. If you remember, when Jesus was told Lazarus was sick, he did not leave immediately. Now a man named Lazarus was sick. He was from Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. (This Mary, whose brother Lazarus now lay sick, was the same one who poured perfume on the Lord and wiped his feet with her hair.) So the sisters sent word to Jesus, “Lord, the one you love is sick.” When he heard this, Jesus said, “This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it.” Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. So when he heard that Lazarus was sick, he stayed where he was two more days, 7 and then he said to his disciples, “Let us go back to Judea.”
I must reiterate a part of scripture that will make your eyes buck and astonish your mind. Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. So when he heard that Lazarus was sick, he stayed where he was two more days, 7 and then he said to his disciples, “Let us go back to Judea.” Lets’s go back to the paragraph of scripture once again, So the sisters sent word to Jesus, “Lord, the one you love is sick.” Now, twice in this scripture, it well known, JESUS LOVES LAZARUS. So, why does Jesus not rush to the one He loves? Jesus stayed where He was TWO MORE DAYS. Now, I know if that was my friend who didn’t show up, I would be livid! Do you believe Lazarus was disappointed or mad because Jesus neglected to show up immediately? Once again, I don’t have l don’t have all the answers (would this consider me NOT an SME, hmm). This I do know, Jesus loved Lazarus, Mary and Martha and He loves you and me, His ways are not are ways, His thought are not our thoughts. In addition, He said, “This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it.” What was Jesus talking about? There two reasons: 1 - One theologian says, “If Christ had come presently, and cured the sickness of Lazarus, he had done no more than he did for many; if he had raised him to life when newly dead, no more than he had done for some: but, deferring his relief so long, he had an opportunity of doing more for him than for any.” 2- In Jewish tradition, a person’s spirit remains with the body for three days and then departs. Therefore, denying the Pharisees, Sadducees and naysayers any reason to NOT believe that the resurrection of Lazarus was a miracle!
Jonah, in the belly of the fish for three days, foreshadowing Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection. Yet, I have not heard a sermon talk about Lazarus’ tomb experience being a foreshadowing of Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection. Conversely, Jesus, being God, King of Kings, Lord of Lords, was crucified, died on the cross, buried in a tomb, took the keys of death from hell and resurrected HIMSELF! WOW, WOW, WOW AND COMPLETELY WOW!!! The stone had been rolled away and He now sits at the right hand of God the Father atoning for our sins. When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come to pass: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.” “Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?”
Jesus not only sits in heaven at the right hand of the Father but will return as KING: For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.