This coming weekend Christians around the world are commemorating the execution and resurrection of Jesus Christ so many years ago.
For those of us looking at the story from this perspective on other side of the resurrection, it’s hard to truly imagine the horror, grief, fear, and hopelessness that those who followed him then must have experienced at the execution and in that chasm of time during which he was dead because we already know how the story ends.
The people who were there in that time didn’t have that luxury. They had no idea what might be coming next, how things could possibly work out from there, or how to even imagine a way in which anything that had just happened made any sense.
We’ve all faced that chasm personally in our lives, though, in one form or another. When we’ve just lost something or someone who we treasured, and it feels like our world has come to a sharp, jagged halt. When we’re in that place, we can’t even imagine what it might look like for life to go on in some new form (much less imagine how we will get there).
We find ourselves pushed to the edge of a chasm where the life we have known has ended behind us and a possible future seems infinitely far away on the other side of an enormous unknown.
It’s a painful, scary, hopeless, anguished place to be every single time we find ourselves there. We forget in that moment that we’ve survived that chasm over and over in our lives each time we’ve faced it.
I think that’s why I find the many stories and images of this type of chasm so comforting: Jesus’s death followed a few days later by his resurrection, the breaking open of a buried acorn followed some time later by a sapling emerging from the ground, the caterpillar’s disappearance into a chrysalis followed by the emergence of a butterfly after a wait, or the broken plate or bowl being slowly transformed into a kintsugi work of art.
Each one of these stories reminds us not only that it is possible to begin again after our hearts have been shattered, but they also remind us that there is inevitably a chasm of time between the ending and the new beginning. Every single one reminds us of the need for patience as we wait for that chasm to be bridged (and that much of the work that bridges that chasm may happen underground, out of sight, and unobserved).
If you are in a place today where you are grieving, feeling broken, or as if your world has come to an end and gazing out over that chasm and not seeing any new life on the other side, take hope in these stories that tell us that over and over again new beginnings do come eventually. There is new life and new hope on the other side of that chasm, even if you can’t see it from here.
Let yourself grieve as fully as you need to, but don’t stop watching for the new beginning that is coming. And it will come. It always does.
Just like Jesus’s disciples so many years ago, even when the new beginning arrives, it may not immediately make sense and may cause as much confusion as elation, and that’s ok. Keep watching, keep waiting, keep working toward crossing that space from the old to the new, and it will come in its own time.
Don’t lose hope!
In the meantime, for those of you who are Christians, I wish you a meaningful time as you re-live the commemorative of Jesus’s death and resurrection this weekend and consider how this story applies to your own life once again.
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