Easter Sunday. It’s a day that symbolizes new life and transformation. I’ve felt for a while now that I’ve needed to write this particular blog, but I haven’t felt like I could do it with an honest heart. I think the message of Easter is that there’s hope, even when circumstances make it seem impossible. I guess this week’s blog is about me learning to put my trust in that Source of hope, and let go of my need to have “my will be done”.
For the past year and a half, I’ve struggled to come to terms with a loss in my life. It’s felt like an extended grieving process, though no one died. I’ve experienced denial, anger, bargaining, and sadness, all with the hope of reaching the fifth stage of grieving… acceptance.
There are times that I’ve felt close to acceptance and moving on with my life. But then something happens and I feel myself pulled back into the false hope that things will be as they once were.
I’ve learned some amazing lessons in the process. This past year and a half has been emotionally brutal, but profoundly instructive. I really could write several books on everything I have been learning about relationships, myself, God, the illusion of control, and healing. So I’m grateful for the experience. But in resisting the truth and holding on to that false hope, I’ve been holding myself back.
One of my favorite quotes of all-time comes from a book by C.S. Lewis titled The Problem of Pain. He says, “”If the first and lowest operation of pain shatters the illusion that all is well, the second shatters the illusion that what we have, whether good or bad in itself, is our own and enough for us. Everyone has noticed how hard it is to turn our thoughts to God when everything is going well with us. We ‘have all we want’ is a terrible saying when ‘all’ does not include God. We find God an interruption. As St. Augustine says somewhere, ‘God wants to give us something, but cannot, because our hands are full– there’s nowhere for Him to put it.’ Or as a friend of mine said, ‘We regard God as an airman regards his parachute; it’s there for emergencies but he hope he’ll never have to use it.’ Now God, who has made us, knows what we are and that our happiness lies in Him. Yet we will not seek it in him as long as he leaves us any other resort where it can even plausibly be looked for. While what we call ‘our own life’ remains agreeable we will not surrender it to Him. What then can God do in our interests but make ‘our own life’ less agreeable to us, and take away the plausible source of false happiness.”
I know I can’t force acceptance. That will come in its own time. But I can start redirecting my energy into my own life. I can choose to put down the illusion I’ve been holding for the past year and a half. I can trust God to fill my empty hands with something He wants to give me. Something better. I can believe that with a good measure of grace, I can experience a transformation also.
With today being Easter, I’ll share a thought from one of the leaders of my church that’s been on my mind today. He said, “I think of how dark that Friday was when Christ was lifted up on the cross…. It was a Friday filled with devastating, consuming sorrow… I think that of all the days since the beginning of this world’s history, that Friday was the darkest. But the doom of that day did not endure. The despair did not linger because on Sunday, the resurrected Lord burst the bonds of death…. And in an instant the eyes that had been filled with ever-flowing tears dried…. Each of us will have our Fridays– those days when the universe itself seems shattered and the shards of our world lie littered about us in pieces. We all will experience those broken times when it seems we can never be put together again. We will all have our Fridays. But… No matter our desperation, no matter our grief, Sunday will come.”
I believe that. As I have gradually learned to let go, especially over the past few weeks, it’s been painful. But I feel Sunday getting closer. And I’m excited to see what good things are in store.