Where I Saw Resurrection on Easter
As I mentioned in a past post entitled “Paranoia!”, I tend to get really uncomfortable when I am in a good place in life. I feel I should probably explain more of where this comes from in order to accurately describe my Easter.
About ten years ago, I was in the thick of depression that almost got deadly. Because of the combination of family-inherited depression, the stress of coming out at age twelve, and a truly awful school full of cruel teachers and bullying kids, I was on the brink of suicide constantly. I saw no future for myself and there was no point in pursuing any interests– I didn’t belong anywhere. I found refuge in writing poetry and reading the religion textbooks in my school’s library; however, I didn’t believe in a God because I saw no reason to when my life was a living hell. The more I tried to explore my interest in the divine, the more people told me, “you can’t be gay and Christian.”
This degree of severe and persistent depression and suicidal tendencies seems like a distant memory most of the time, but it has had a huge effect on me. Mostly, I get paranoid when things start to go well for me. Something in my past engrained in my brain that I am not worthy of good things. Something constantly tells me in the back of my head that anybody who claims to love me will change their mind when they get to know me better. I’m always afraid that because something good is happening to me, something bad is about to follow.
I bring all this up because today I was initially having a hard time internally celebrating the resurrection this Easter morning. After examining the source of these thoughts, I concluded that it’s hard for me to embrace new life when I basically don’t believe it when I see it.
And here I am- I am two weeks away from graduating college where I got through on a full scholarship. I’m about to begin divinity school on another full scholarship, and I somehow have secured housing for cheap with a bunch of great friends and a fertile garden. I have an incredible internship for the summer that just fell in my lap. I am surrounded by concentric circles of supportive communities of friends and families. I have just enough money to meet my basic needs (I think). I have reconciled my faith and sexuality and know that there is a place for me at the table.
So how do I not recognize a resurrection when I see it?
I cannot believe the difference in the person I am now at 22 and the person I was at 12. That persons was dead inside and out. There was no way of predicting all that would be in that young girl’s future. And today, I had a moment where I became shockingly aware of the resurrection in my life. I was at a table with my community as we shared Easter brunch, sipping coffee and mimosas, laughing, grateful. I stared into my coffee cup and wondered how I might struggle in the next few months, not really believing my life is going to be as good as it seems. Something will fall through. Tragedy will strike. I will get hit by a car. A piano will fall from the sky.
And I caught myself. In the resurrection narrative, people not only couldn’t believe Jesus was risen, they didn’t recognize the risen Christ when he appeared to them. They looked right past and kept mourning his death. And this is exactly what I was doing. I couldn’t see the resurrection in my life because I was so focused on how well the burial shrouds might fit.
Resurrection comes in many forms, sometimes in empty tombs, sometimes in beautiful communities. As I live into this Easter season, I will try to keep my eyes open to the resurrection all around me, and have faith like a child that Good is not only on its way, but is already here.
Christ has died.
Christ is risen.
Christ will come again, and again, and again…