Christians all over the world will celebrate Easter this Sunday. Easter is the most significant holy day for Christians because the focus is on the resurrection of Jesus. There is great rejoicing in celebrating Jesus’ rising from the dead and in the hope of an eternal life filled with peace and love.
So what does that have to do with grief? Just as Jesus lived, died, and was resurrected to new life, we live, experience all types of deaths (death of a relationship, death of a job, death of good health, death of a dream, etc.) and we too can be resurrected to a new way of living that takes us from despair to hope; from pain to joy; from turmoil to peace.
Sounds great, right? But how do we get there? How do we get to a place of peace when we are consumed with grief? When we experience a death or loss it’s tempting to want to skip over the pain and just get things back to normal. If we take a cue from Jesus’ life, we can see that Jesus suffered and died before he was resurrected. In other words, there can be no Easter Sunday without a Good Friday. It’s the same for us. We cannot expect to move beyond our sorrow until we experience our grief first. The only way to get through grief is to “do” grief – to immerse ourselves in the depths of despair, loneliness, anger, or whatever our grief brings us so that eventually we emerge out of it and have our “resurrection moment.”
It’s important to note that in Jesus’ resurrection he didn’t merely return to life exactly as he was before, but rather he was changed in a way that made him almost unrecognizable to his close friends (Lk 24:13-31; Jn 20:14). Our “resurrection moment” points to a similar reality. When we go through a significant loss we will never be the same. The way we relate to others and to our world has been irrevocably altered. Acknowledging this reality is the first step toward healing, toward a resurrection experience where we are transformed by our grief. We may discover an inner strength we never knew we had, a new talent, a greater sense of purpose, or our life’s vocation. We are led to a new life filled with hope and promise. We experience a peace that overshadows our pain.
Whatever our religious or philosophical beliefs, we all have something to learn from the Easter message. Despite the suffering in our lives we have the ability to experience “resurrection moments” – to encounter dark days that eventually give birth to light and a greater capacity to love.
May your grief journey become a pilgrimage of self-discovery that leads to a new life infused with peace and joy.
Have you ever experienced a “resurrection moment?” How have you been transformed by grief?
Grieve Well . . . Live Well