More Easter Days
Easter service in the garden, 2018
The question I hear the most in my life is, “Farrell, where are you?” It could be my son, Charlie, calling me from the lacrosse field and I am standing in the grocery store check-out line. Or Finn calls “momma” from his crib after nap time, and I am in the kitchen chopping vegetables for dinner. More than I would like to admit, it is often one of my daughters calling me from the after-school pick up line, “Mom, where are you?”—and I am still sitting at my computer trying to craft that final sentence of the day. Thanks to the mastermind, Steve Jobs, and his GPS app, my husband and children can now pinpoint my exact location, and even “ping” me to let me know they are trying to find me.
God calls out to me too, “Farrell, where are you?” God is not calling for my physical location. God wants to know the coordinates of my soul. And God is not afraid to “ping” me to get my attention, especially when I am not where God would like me to be.
Every day we get to choose where we live in mind, body and spirit. I believe the three days of Easter are metaphors for where we are in life and in faith: Good Friday, the day Jesus suffered the tragic fate of crucifixion on the cross where all appeared lost; Black Saturday, the day Jesus was entombed and fate hung in the balance; and Easter Sunday, the day Jesus was resurrected and goodness prevailed.
If God was to “ping” you right now, where would He find you?
Are you at the cross? No one willingly chooses to visit this dark land, but each of us will spend time here over our lifetimes. Things happen that we cannot understand, control or fix on this side of heaven. You know you are standing in the shadow of the cross when your heart hurts within you, either because you have been greatly disappointed by life or have lost something or someone very dear to you: a loved one, a relationship, a dream, your health, your home. Anger, grief, despair and cynicism about the world and God’s sometimes “questionably” benevolent operation in it near overtakes your heart. For a time, your world goes dark, but inside, the mysterious quiet soul knows it is not meant to stay here. In Nature and in the human story there is an underlying pattern; winter is followed by spring; death is followed by resurrection. If we can hold on to this truth down the black hole of suffering, one day we will rise, transformed. We will live to tell the story that at the moment of our greatest vulnerability, God was there, and joy did return in the morning.
Black Saturday is the last place the soul wants to be and yet this is where humanity spends many of its breaths. This is the eery in-between, a no-man’s land, a “purgatory” where we vacillate between inner darkness and flickering light, doubt and faith, despair and hope, death and life. The reality of Black Saturday is this: You know you cannot go back to the way things were before the cross, but you also cannot yet see a new way forward. On Black Saturday, you may flounder, living in the past, or wasting your precious life and all its creative energy, fearing the future. Somewhere you missed Jesus’s divine memo: No one can add a single day to life by worrying. Spiritually “stuck,” you suffer in silence with an inner restlessness that nothing of this world or your doing can dispel. Daily, even minute-to-minute, you can live in this uncertain and unsettling land relying on your own wavering strength. Every time this will fail. It is not until you can pray the words, “I trust You, Thy will be done,” that you have a chance of reaching the Easter horizon.
And lastly, there is the Easter Sunday-living. This is the place of relief where you have figured out God’s secret that you cannot force your will on life. Rather, you must surrender and allow your divinely-supported destiny to unfold. The single greatest evidence for Easter living is contentment in all things. You know your mind and heart are in this glorious space because no matter how many visits or how long the stay at the cross or how often you fall into the quicksand of doubts, deep down you know it will not last forever. God will come for you. A rising small or grand will take place in your life. You will be redeemed.
Easter spirits see beauty and goodness despite life’s ugly graffiti. When they walk into a room, they actually radiate—always searching for divine clues to help them live with purpose and joy. They bring their souls to everything they do, from marriages, to parenting, to their homes, in work, friendships, upsetting circumstances and a worldview. At every turn, they add to the sum of kindness in the world, not subtract. They are convinced goodness will prevail. Why? Because daily they take the leap of faith and choose to trust God with all that they are and all whom they love. They live day-to-day counting blessings, so grateful for the opportunity to participate for however long in this one precious life.
How do we live more Easter days in our short stay here?
I believe the answer lies in how much agency we give our souls to guide us; what we hold as absolute truths to ground us; and the resiliency of our faith.
It is a “lifetime project” to make sense (peace) with our remarkable humanity and spark of divinity, and then, with as much grace as we can muster, help God bring a little of heaven down to earth.
To live in an Easter state of mind and heart is to know that although the world may disappoint, God will never disappoint. God loved us first, loves us through this beautiful, sometimes brutal adventure and will love us into the hereafter. It is to accept God’s call to become “little saviors” in this broken world, dedicated to helping others to rise up. Easter spirits know that God identifies us by our soul. The soul is the part of us that is good and luminous, hopes, loves purely, instinctively knows God and will live on. The soul remembers where it came from—Eternity, and longs for glimpses of eternal things here: God, beauty, laughter, nature, love, peace. The greatest compliment that could be given to you or me is that we are magnanimous, meaning we bear a “magna” (great) “animous” (soul).
God is calling, Where are you? If you are not in the enchanted land of Easter, how do you get there? Easter is available to you always. Love well and love all the time. This was God’s message through Jesus 2,000 years ago, today and every day. Live in the awe and wonder of what this love can do. Love made us. Love sustains us. Love saves us.
Live in Hope!