Jeff Who Lives at Home contains a striking juxtaposition between the beauty of the world that the movie takes place in (it is sunny throughout the movie, the music is upbeat, and the colors are bright) and the brokenness of the characters’ interactions. How can it be that I live in the same world as the movie? How can there be such beauty and brokenness together? That feels absurd to me.
I recently watched Jeff Who Lives at Home because Andy liked the movie. Andy was a friend of mine and was like a little brother. Andy enjoyed things. Andy committed suicide on Sunday, April 6, 2014. That feels absurd to me.
I took the picture at the top of this blog post as I walked home after watching the movie. That feels absurd to me.
I poured so much into Andy. I loved him a lot. And he killed himself. How can I have loved someone who killed himself? That feels absurd to me.
Andy really liked the song “He is Yahweh.” How can the world be such that my friend and little brother liked this song so much that he annoyed his friend by asking him to play it again and again… and then he killed himself? That feels absurd to me.
How was it that I could sing that song worshipfully… while weeping at his memorial service?
How can it be that my grandfather died before I was born and yet I was born and think that Phish Food is delicious? That feels absurd to me.
How can it be that I like basketball so much and people have lost the use of their legs in tragic accidents? That feels absurd to me.
How can it be that the same world in which I got to witness Andy Sun becoming a Christian is the same world in which I was told that Andy had attempted suicide and it looked like the attempt would be successful? That feels absurd to me.
How can it be that there are such beautiful days when people have psychotic breaks? That feels absurd to me.
How can it be that my friend had almost a year sober and then he fell off the wagon? That feels absurd to me. But now he has more than a year sober? That feels absurd to me, too.
And when I was ten, I had my first crush on a girl, and then my friend Andy committed suicide? That feels absurd to me.
And I have such a beautiful, kind, amazing wife and my friend Andy killed himself? That feels absurd to me.
Orgasms exist in the same world as rape. That feels absurd to me.
And people die all over the place. But the sunset was so beautiful. And when I was in the hospital, three people that I did not know very well (at the time) made the trek out to visit me and spend time with me. And the Bible that they gave me, I gave to Andy and he read all the way through it. And then Andy killed himself? That feels absurd to me.
How can it be that I had a good time last night with friends when Andy killed himself on Sunday? How can these exist in the same world? That feels absurd to me.
And I hate absurdity.
If Christians are right—if we live in the Christian universe—then we would expect to see such an absurd world. If the world was created good, evil entered as a result of human brokenness, and now the world is broken… we would expect such absurdity. If you splattered paint all over the Sistine chapel, right next to all the ugly splatters, would still be chunks of beauty.
But, that doesn’t make me feel better.
Jesus of Nazareth died an incredibly absurd death 2000 years ago. He was tortured, mocked, and crucified. And the sun rose that day and the sun set that day and most people on Earth went about their normal business. That feels absurd to me.
But three days later, he rose from the dead, landing an uppercut squarely on absurdity’s chin. We celebrate Easter because it says that there is one stronger than absurdity. One day, Christ will conquer absurdity. On that day, people won’t lose their legs. On that day, Andys won’t die. On that day, absurdity will be decisively defeated. That day isn’t here yet, but what we celebrate on Easter is that it will come. I can think of nothing better. We would love to have you celebrate with us.