First the Darkness, Then the Light
I'm resharing this post one year after it was first published. I think we've all been through a lot of darkness this past year, and we're starting to see the metaphorical light at the end of the tunnel. I think it's important to hold all of those things together - the darkness and light, the grief and the joy. Happy (belated) Easter, friends.
I've always loved Easter. I love the celebration and what it stands for - new life, resurrection, light breaking into the world. (Also, I love Easter egg hunts and aggressively insisted on participating in our family egg hunt until I was at least 16 --- which I stand by. I would still do an egg hunt at 24, they're just fun.)
My favorite Easter service happened a few years ago. I went to church on Good Friday and they ended the service by shutting all the windows, dimming the lights and singing a somber, quiet song.
On Sunday morning, they began with the same darkened lights, quiet music, windows down. But then, suddenly, the music picked up and all the windows opened and all the lights turned on --- glorious, glorious resurrection.
I will always remember that succession of services. I'm a visual learner, and so, there it was played out. First the darkness. Then the light.
This is an odd Easter to be talking about resurrection.
When I think about odd Easters, I think about one year when it stormed all Easter Sunday, and we had to move our annual egg hunt inside. And, for reasons I can only assume had to do with someone forgetting to buy candy, all the eggs were filled with money instead and hidden in my grandparents' basement.
I didn't think Easter would get stranger than that one, but here we are, a global pandemic cancelling every single gathering and egg hunt and church service.
My own family is doing a Zoom call on Sunday.
If you've ever been through a hard time before (and I'm assuming you have), you know what it's like to be in the thick of it.
You think, I will never be okay again. I will never get through this. I will never feel better. This will never end.
Maybe you're driving down the road one day and it hits you, out of the blue. That thing that you never thought you'd get over, through, past --- suddenly, you really are okay again. You really made it through. First, all of that darkness, and then, now, suddenly, all of the light.
I know we're in the middle of the dark part now.
I know we're losing jobs and loved ones and stability and security. I know we're facing anxiety and fear and helplessness and loneliness. I know.
And I know that the next part is still coming. The part where all the light comes flooding back in. Where we celebrate all the postponed weddings, we go out with friends for the first time again, we reunite with family, we get back on planes and travel, we make it through this.
First the darkness. But then, the light.
Easter is about resurrection, but it's also about waiting.
When I went to Austria in 2016, I spent a week at summer camp where they hosted 24 hour prayer. They had us all sign up for time slots, so there would always be someone praying in the prayer room for 24 hours a day, the whole week.
During my time slots, there was something I was praying for in my own life, and I remember thinking --- this prayer will never be answered. I will never get through this. This is hopeless.
And I waited.
It wasn't until last year that I truly saw how those prayers had been answered in my life, and how much they were needed precisely at that moment. 3 years later and I finally saw that light.
I don't know how long quarantine and this pandemic will last. I don't know how much harder it will get to wait. I do know that there is a day coming where we will make it out of the darkness, into the light.
And in the meantime, you're not alone. We are all in this together, and we are all here for each other. I am here for you. If you ever need anything, no matter who you are reading this, please reach out and I will do my best to be there for you.
May God be with you this Easter.
First in the darkness, and then in the light.