Easter weekend. It was a year ago this day that I sat on cold tiles of the ICU and grappled with losing my mom, and making HARD medical decisions and trying not to let my emotions get the best of my ethics. Talking about DNR’s and Pulmonary Embolisms instead of brunch and colored eggs. Trying to smile though tears pouring down and trying to hold my sister’s hand when I couldn’t get a grip on anything in my own life. Just aching to know Jesus was there. Easter is messy and glorious all at the same time–a collision of our overwhelming need for grace meets the fulfillment of a promised Savior.
Life goes on and dwindling medical bills are paid, closets are cleared, and handwritten notes are saved and even while still holding a holy breath everything just somehow moves on.
This holiday, a time for family to come in town and to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus, just feels so robbed for me. Wishing time could go back, wondering if I could have done something different, ridden with guilt, still searching for the truth. And I revel thinking this is, on a much smaller scale, how Mary must have felt sitting outside her son’s tomb just striving to be a gracious, grieving mother. Pleading for peace and understanding and putting one foot in front of the other the only way she knew how and gripping the beautiful, blessed hands of those next to her. She was so faithful in her grief.
Which is why I can hardly imagine her surprise and terror when she went on the third day to pay respect to her son and worship the Lord, even in this hardship. I cannot imagine the initial shock and pain she felt with what, at the time, appeared to be a robbed tomb. Her son had just paid a horrific, innocent death; and now this—his body nowhere to be found.
Maybe she was more of a romantic than me and when the angel shouted that “He has risen indeed!” and she instantly believed him. Or maybe after a ridged week she experienced unbelief. She lived in a period of unknowing, but not unfaithfulness.
The truth is that we’re all just living on the edge of these 3 days between Easter and Good Friday—waiting and holding our breath for something catastrophic or glorious to happen, because undoubtedly it will. I have been challenged to think about the way in which I wait. I long to live like Mary, knowing the prophecies that he is risen, but instead I often live in fear that it is too great to be true. I live on the delicate edge of erupting some days. I live with a linear view of my life not comprehending the greatness and wholeness and reality of what an empty tomb actually means. I live choosing to believe the beauty of the truth and holding fast to it. I live with my jaw dropped straight down to the floor at the fear and agony that an empty tomb holds.
But I want to more than just knowing, I want live in AWE. I want to live in gratefulness in the emptiness. I want to live in wide-eyed-wonder and amazement that this empty tomb sets free a promise that we can live as fully as we can on this earth. I want to live aware of the gift given to me from grief. I want to live with my jaw dropped straight down to the floor at the glory and wonder and irreplaceable promise that echoes and is magnified from the walls of the empty tomb. I want to live with the break of a smile, my heart picking up pace, the glimmer of glory, the tension of tiptoes at hope fulfilled.
Though the calendar of Easter holds weighted significance in my life, it holds deeper spiritual significance that I grasp on a deeper level more than ever this year. Jesus did not stay in the tomb. Rock and dust could not hold him. His leaving made way for hope to reside. Mary did not stay, staring at the empty tomb. She fiercely fought to see the wonder of his completion. He rose, and in rising fulfilled His promises. He rose relieving us from our own graves, can we wait on tiptoes believing his grace?
Today I live in the sunshine, for when His glory is too bright to open my eyes I trust he is there by the warmth engulfing my face.