This year, Easter was a little different. For those of us that follow the Christian faith it didn’t really feel the same did it? I’ve gone to church ever since I was an embryo, but I’ve always looked forward to the “special occasion” services a wee bit more than the others. Easter, Christmas etc. I look forward to getting together in community with everyone on Sundays, I love getting dressed up, (side note: you don’t have to get dressed up to come to church. Come just as you are. I merely choose to get dressed up because I enjoy it. ) I love singing the songs, on or off stage. Mostly on though. I’m starting to miss that part especially and being part of a team again. But this year, there was none of that. And we all felt it. Big time.
It honestly didn’t even feel like Easter to me. It was just like any other day without the usual routine. I’m sure we would all agree that most of our lives have felt like that over the last few weeks. We’re all getting to the point where we’re really starting to feel the weight of it all during this waiting period. And nobody loves waiting. I know I don’t. Patience has never been a strong suit for me when it comes to waiting. It’s improved over the years but when I get it in my head that I want to do something or I get excited about something, I just want to do it. I don’t want to wait. I hate that part. The waiting.
We thought we had it pretty good before this whole isolation thing happened. We all had our routines, our hobbies, our goals etc. We had plans and dreams and thought we had this whole year figured out. I know I did. Or at least I thought I did. And then it all stopped. It’s been pretty discouraging to say the least. From saying goodbye to what you knew as “normal”, to facing the unknown and not knowing what’s going to happen next. That pesky “in between” phase is just horrible, scary and downright rude. How dare it keep us in limbo and not give us any answers.
It feels like we’re the Israelites wandering through the desert for 40 years. When you’ve left the slavery of Egypt behind you but still haven’t quite reached the “Promised Land” out in front of you. So in the meantime we’re left to meander through the wilderness of isolation so we can get our crap together. I don’t remember agreeing to any of this.
Having gotten my frustration out of my system now, for the most part, I have experienced enough to know a couple of things in my thirty-eight years. I recognize that while any sort of waiting is extremely frustrating, it can also be very necessary and thus, rewarding in the end. The waiting is where character is both tested and built. And anything worth having, in the end, is worth waiting for. Kind of like good food vs. junk food. I would much rather go to a nice restaurant and order off a menu and wait until they cook it just right and display it for me on my plate in an artistic manner than to settle for going through a myriad of drive-thru’s. (P.s; I’m a bit of a food snob. I love really good food. Although pizza and wings sometimes just hits the spot too, ya know?) It comes down to, do you want the cheap junk stuff NOW? Or, do you want to practice some patience and self control and wait for the really, super good stuff? The stuff that has substance. The stuff that lasts. The stuff that fills you rather than merely feeds you just because you’re bored. It’s up to you. Choice is always yours to make.
The thing about going through an “in between” season is that, in the moment, you can’t always see an end in sight. It’s dark, quiet, confusing, frustrating, and seemingly feels like an eternity. Coming to terms that what was doesn’t exist anymore. And also trying to hang on to some distant hope that what will be, although we can’t see it yet, is on it’s way. That old saying, “It’s always darkest before the dawn”? It’s easy to quote that when you’re on the other side already. When you’ve reached “the dawn.” But what about when you’re still in the dark? How do we get through, in the meantime? How do we hang on until that day comes?
I know that might seem far too simple of a response to some. It is and it isn’t. It’s only one word but within that word means the difference in how we choose to view the world around us. The choices we make every day. Our attitude. Whether we allow our emotions to dictate our day or if we tell our emotions to sit down and shut the hell up. Hope is a gift. It allows us to remain expectant, regardless of what our present circumstances may suggest. That no matter what it looks like now, that anything is possible at any given moment. The hopeLESSness that we may be tempted to feel is necessary so that we can CHOOSE hopeFULLness. The dark moments we experience are necessary components that help to shape our character and give our lives depth.
Think of an artist. A painter, if you will. Especially one that does landscapes or portraits. They will tell you that the most important colour on their palette is black. (I know, technically it’s a shade and not a “colour” but whatever. Work with me here.) Black is what brings an otherwise flat landscape piece to life. It creates the shadows and depth necessary that when standing at a distance, makes you wish you were there. It’s the same in life. The “in between” moments, the waiting, can become our greatest asset if we allow it.
The thing to remember is that this too shall pass. It won’t always be like this. One day, we’ll be free to go out and do the things we love with the people we love the most. And regardless of our present circumstances in life, whether it’s relationships, financial hardships, trying to improve ourselves and break old habits, there is always hope. Even with everything that I’ve been through over the years, the one thing that keeps me going each and every day is, hope. That at any moment, things could shift and it will go from dark to dawn. And in that moment I’ll be glad that I didn’t give up.
During this Easter weekend, those of us who celebrate the Christian faith celebrated this exact thing. On Good Friday, when Jesus gave up His own life on the cross and they laid Him in the tomb, sealing it, it seemed hopeless. His followers thought it was over. Everything they knew in the previous 3 years that they had spent with Jesus, died with Him that day. So much so, that the disciples were afraid and hid together in their houses. Afraid of what would happen to them now that their leader, their teacher and their friend was now dead. Those two nights, Friday and Saturday, must have been the longest nights of their lives. The waiting, the unknown, the fear, the darkness, the hopelessness. Now what? Where are they supposed to go? What do they do? What’s the next course of action? Nothing. Except to wait. And just when they thought they couldn’t take it anymore, Sunday morning came…
Funny enough, it was the women who followed Jesus that were at the tomb that morning. Not the men. His closest friends were hiding while the women bravely made their way to honour most likely the only man of that time that treated them as a person of value in a society and culture where they were no more than a piece of property. Once they realized the tomb was empty they ran to tell the disciples, who of course didn’t believe anything they had to say. When you’ve been in a season of waiting it can be hard to believe things can get better so I don’t really blame them. It was Jesus Himself who had to appear to them in order for them to believe again. But in that moment, it all became clear. Everything He had told them had come true. He had told them that He would rise from the dead after 3 days, and He did. While it was a dark moment in history, Jesus accomplished more in that time then we can even fathom and proceeded to change the course of history.
A lot can happen in 3 days. Don’t give up.
In the meantime…Hope.