Today is Easter Sunday. Today is also the first Easter–the first holiday–after my mom’s death. I haven’t stopped to write recently because life has been crazy and busy and I get so caught up in DOING that sometimes I forget to stop and make myself process the many emotions that days like today bring up inside me.
I do, however, have a pretty fantastic writer and activist that I look up to who can sum things up in a way that I can’t articulate. Glennon Doyle Melton is the bestselling author of “Carry on Warrior” and”Love Warrior” as well as a blogger, an activist and a self-proclaimed “truth teller and hope spreader.” In a Facebook wall post dated 5/7/16, Glennon writes, “That’s the thing about truth and God: They will set you free but they’ll hurt like hell first. First the pain, then the rising. First the pain, then the rising–again and again forever.” This phrase rings so true in my life–and in the Easter story. Good Friday we were hopeless–the Savior was defeated by death and all the hope we put in Him died too. The pain. Then, the rising–Easter morning. The tomb was empty, the Savior was risen, death was defeated forevermore. The afterward. The “bounceback,” if you will.
As a Christian, obviously the Resurrection is one of my favorite Bible stories–the one that gives me hope of Heaven, the one that solidifies my faith–but this year, more than ever, I’m reminded that you don’t get the Resurrection without the loss, without the death. You just don’t get Easter Sunday without Good Friday. You don’t get to rise above without going through the tough times first. What I want to talk about though, is Saturday.
On Holy Saturday, it is pretty likely that those who were followers of Jesus were doing one of two things: Hiding or mourning–maybe both. The disciples of Jesus were very likely hiding, because they were in fear of being imprisoned for their faith (John 20:19). The Bible states that they scattered when Jesus was arrested (Mark 14:50). I can only imagine that those who had put their faith and hope in Him and in the miracles and teachings of Jesus were reeling with disbelief, grief and loss–how could their Savior be dead? And what happens next?
Much the same, I’ve been living in a very long state of Saturday. It seems lately as though those that I encounter expect me to either be in a Friday or Sunday state of mind (absolutely grief-stricken or moving on and totally fine) but to be completely honest–it’s all Saturday in my mind and my heart. I’m not doing too much hiding, because I really believe that if I let myself get swallowed up in the grief and hide from the world, my responsibilities and my life–the darkness wins. But the disbelief, grief and loss? Yep, all of those. These days, I swing wildly between “duty calls” and business as usual….and feeling like I’ve been punched in the gut. I cruise through the day, clean the house, take care of my kids, go to work and in between all of the doing–WHAM–out of nowhere, a song comes on…someone talks about their mom…something funny or great or crappy happens and I wish more than anything that I could call her. That I could hear her laugh. That I could just hug her and tell her that I love her so very much and that she means the world to me. But then, I take some deep breaths and wipe the tears and continue with life. I know the rising will happen, I’m bound and determined to make my life a life well-lived, a life that will honor my mom’s memory. The darkness in my mom’s mind may have resulted in her taking her own life, but it didn’t win. I effing refuse to let it win. And thanks to Jesus, the ultimate sacrifice, death doesn’t win. Not in the Easter story, and not with my mom.
See today, Easter Sunday, reminds me that after the pain, there’s the rising. After the rain, there’s the sun. After the heartache, there’s hope. Without Good Friday (the sadness), Holy Saturday (the waiting) and Easter Sunday (the rising), there wouldn’t be hope of heaven. Now that’s a blessed assurrance you can take to the bank. Sunday’s coming for me, eventually, but right now I’m totally learning to work through Saturday and that’s okay.
I’ll end this with another awesome quote from Glennon’s Facebook page on April 13, 2017, “When her pain is fresh and new, let her have it. Don’t try to take it away. Forgive yourself for not having that power. Grief and pain are like joy and peace; they are not things we should try to snatch from each other. They’re sacred. They are part of each person’s journey. All we can do is offer relief from this fear: I am all alone. That’s the one fear you can alleviate.”
Thank you for reminding me that I’m not alone, and Happy Easter!