It’s the time of year when we celebrate all things new. Sadly, my soul feels mired in the old. I want to give it wings.
Easter and the 40 days leading up to it, meant much more to me as a child. Lent was about deprivation and denial. It was usually about the giving up and not the giving for. I still hear the occasion person state what they gave up while the next person tries to top that with the particular thing, person or activity they choose to do without as if it were some masochistic contest. I’d rather not play. I hated the giving up, the guilt when I failed, the idea that doing without could somehow contribute to creating something more. It defied logic. A neat and orderly world is a predictable one.
And, so when Easter finally arrived after 40 days of want and three days of intense liturgical observation in which the Catholic Church reenacts the drama of the Last Supper and the Crucifixion, Easter was release. It was healing. It was rebirth. It was love, the reward for faith and hope. It was divine justice, a reconciliation for all the suffering, all the want, all the waiting. If only life were that simple.
The Easter story means so much to so many because it promises a reward for suffering. It promises redemption. It makes God, a suffering, persecuted human, one to which we can all relate. Divine justice prevails. Suffering becomes part of the process and makes the subsequent resurrection more meaningful. We want that for ourselves. We want our suffering to have meaning. We want to rise again.
Often, that isn’t how it ends, at least not in the earthly realm. So much of human suffering is meaningless. The happy ending, the just ending, may never come and still, we wait.
In the end, the story we tell ourselves to make sense out of the stuff of our lives is all that matters. If we align our lives, our dreams our hopes with a Christian story that is where meaning will lie for us. If we believe that the Koran defines our reality, then it will. If we chose to attach our dreams, hopes and ambitions to the wisdom of the Buddha, then those things will become real for us.
These are all stories or tales with beginning, middles and endings. The ending is a product of all that came before. We mortals, victims of time, are still stories in progress. We can only guess what our ending will be. We are trapped in the daily living of our unfinished stories. There is so much that doesn’t make sense. We attach ourselves to stories, stories that have endings. It is there we pin our hopes and dreams and often our sanity. Stories comfort us and few stories comfort us more than that of a Christ, rising again, overcoming death, suffering and evil.
How I want the comfort of this story to fill me. I want to feel born again. I want to rise again, above all the loss and pain that haunts the edges of my life. I close my eyes and wait for the feeling of resurrection to flow through me. I need an Easter in my life. It doesn’t come.
But then again, my story isn’t over.