Mind The Coffin

ELEPHANYThere’s a coffin in our hallway.

An actual coffin, taking up the space between the door and the stairs.

Glen’s recording a video for Easter and apparently, it’s a key prop. But this is stretching it.

It’s woven, so Glen says:

“Think of it as a big picnic basket,”

“Right,” I think. A big, coffin-shaped picnic basket.  With lining.

And look, I’ve tried.

I covered it with a tablecloth.  Some flowers.  A basket of fruit.

It’s still a coffin.

I pad towards it in my pjs.  “Morning,” it says. “Good day planned?  Anything nice?  Make the most of it, BECAUSE DEATH COMES TO US ALL.”

I step over it, to get to the buggy. “Careful,” it says, “You don’t want to DIE.”

The doorbell rings.  “Mind the coffin,” I say. The postman looks at me.

I close the door and trip over it.

“Careful,” says the coffin. “Nearly a DEADLY accident there.”

And so it continues.  Death in the hallway.  Death in the living room.  Death in the bathroom.  Death in the dishes.

I make light of it. (“Just a prop,” I say.  “Nothing to worry about.”)

I try to ignore it. (But it’s bigger than me.)

I use euphemisms. (“That thing. In the hall. You know; the container.“)

I minimise it.  (“Nothing to be scared of.  Just a basket.”) For bodies.  And I am scared.

Finally, I face it.  Try to lift it. The weight is too much.


I’m angry with it.  Sitting there. Casting shadows all across the house.

It’s Monday and I don’t need this.  I don’t want to be blogging about death.  It’s like hitting someone when they’re already down.


If it were a boyfriend, I’d dump it.

If it were a plate, I’d smash it.

If it was a fly, I’d chase it.

If it were rubbish, I’d bin it.


But it’s here.  In my home and my head. I can’t make it disappear.

I turn my back on it and climb the stairs.  At the top I see another reminder of death. A picture of Jesus, painted by a friend, (see here).

IMG_3400Everywhere I turn, I see death. But this one defeats it. This death is a beginning, not an ending:

Jesus says:

“I am alive! I was dead and, behold, I am alive forever, Amen. I have the keys of death and the grave.” (Revelation 1:18).

I look downstairs. The coffin is still there; sitting in my hallway. “Death comes for us all,” it whispers.

But it’s smaller now.  I’ve got someone else to lift it. Someone who’s coming, to take it away.

I look up and see the God who is present, even in the grave. Who rises victorious over it – and takes us with Him.

I give them eternal life. They will never perish. No one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father has given them to me. He is greater than all and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand, (John 10:38-9).




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9 thoughts on “Mind The Coffin

  1. “But it’s smaller now. I’ve got someone else to lift it. Someone who’s coming, to take it away.”

    Amen. What good news, Emma! The weight of a coffin IS a terrible thing to bear. When my mother died 26 years ago, my dad made no movement to take care of her funeral arrangements, so one of my sisters and I took on the responsibility. When the funeral director asked us to pick out the coffin, my sister said “not a metal one, because a small child might come up to it during the wake and bang on it, making it sound “tinny.” Maybe an odd or ridiculous thought, but in our individual grief at the time, who was I to argue? So, I picked out a rather expensive, beautiful wooden coffin. Fast forward a year or so later. My dad tells me that he wished I hadn’t chosen a wooden coffin; because mom’s grave, in the hot, high-water table of southern Mississippi, had sunk quite a bit, and because the coffin was wood, it was no longer “protecting” my mom’s remains. He obviously thought it was my fault that a corrupt body was being corrupted even further by the soil and water.

    Ever since then, I’ve borne the weight of “choosing the wrong coffin,” which has affected just about every decision I’ve faced. Up until a couple of years ago, not knowing why, I’d become increasingly paralyzed when it came to making decisions.. That’s when the coffin story finally came to light as I was wigging out over some decision I had to make. It wasn’t just important decisions I had to make either. I often couldn’t even decide what to make for dinner, or whether to go someplace, because, in effect, I might “choose the wrong coffin!” Yeah, decisions themselves felt like death to me.

    The insight has been helpful, but in itself it has no power to still my quaking heart. Like you pointed out, an ever present coffin–whether in your foyer or in my painful memory–will always be the harbinger of death. But what HAS been making a difference, is that better image at the top of your stairs, which puts the coffin and death in its proper perspective. I was never meant to bear the weight of a coffin and death. Nor was I meant to bear the burden of “taking care” of my dad or my sister or who knows how many others I’ve tried to “rescue” over the years. Only Jesus can bear that weight! While I still hate making decisions–and I have a lot of very important ones to make in the near future–it’s only the glimpse of this Jesus, the victorious Conqueror of death that gives me hope. Because, even if I do “choose the wrong coffin,” Jesus has me in His grasp (Thank you so much for that John 10 reminder!). And, even if I “choose perfectly,” I’m still forgiven.

  2. Beautiful… Such a clear picture and reminder that death is defeated! Praise God for Easter! And I hope the coffin is gone now!

  3. Brilliant post!

    (I seriously can’t imagine what it would be like to a coffin in the house! Super creepy!)

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