The day after Easter leaves me wondering: How did Mary (either one) and the disciples handle all of the emotion of the week prior? One day, Jesus is being welcomed into Jerusalem as a hero, yet only a few days later he is being crucified, handed over by those same people as a criminal.
Mary and the others had witnessed the cheers of Palm Sunday, then watched, horrified, as Jesus died a gruesome death the following Friday. They buried him with their tears, and then they walked away from his tomb, devastated, on Saturday.
But on Easter morning, Christ’s followers encountered an empty tomb and experienced yet another range of emotions that Scripture tells us moved them from total devastation, to fear and confusion, and finally to immense joy.
So there they were on Easter Monday, one day after the resurrection. How were they feeling? How did they cope with such extreme emotions? Their heads must have been spinning!
I imagine that there was just one emotion left for this band of believers: hope. And that’s where I want—where I need—to land on this Easter Monday, too.
The past six weeks have run me through the gamut of emotions. On March 1, I had my first article published in a place I respect very much—I should have been celebrating.
But shortly after that article hit the web, I got a phone call from my oldest daughter telling me that she was moving away from the city she loves (and the one about 30 minutes away from me) to a new city that is farther away from here than any other place in the country.
Think about that for a minute. She couldn’t be farther away from me unless she moved to Alaska or Hawaii.
Yet, despite my sadness, I also felt immense joy, deep pride, and, admittedly, some confusion as to how this happened so fast. (A word on the back story: she applied for the job in January, had a series of interviews in February, which culminated in a trip to her new city for more interviews, and, in the end, a job offer.)
But that wasn’t all. Later that same day, March 1, I got a call from my mother—the call I never wanted nor expected to get. She had just received a scary diagnosis that would require surgery, sooner rather than later.
Suddenly March 1, 2017 had become one of those days. One we won’t soon forget. We started making plans—my husband going one direction, I going another. Both big events would take place in the same week.
I have gone back to that day in my mind so many times. How could so much happen in one day? And why? Really, God. Why?
For the month of March my head was spinning as my heart struggled to stay engaged.
So here I am on the Monday after Easter processing everything that has happened over the past six weeks.
And now, much like those who experienced the resurrection, I’m sitting with a new emotion: hope.
My daughter has settled into her new job in a new city. It’s still far away—that won’t change—but we do have plans to see each other quite a bit. And I have every bit of confidence . . . hope . . . that she’s going to be just fine.
And my mom (and thus our entire family) has received the best news possible. Her surgery was a success and she has been declared “cancer free.” Six weeks ago we were processing the worst possible news; this week I’m processing the best.
My head is still spinning as my heart tries to reengage.
I’ve wanted to write these past weeks. I’ve longed to form sentences and coherent thoughts. But every time I’ve tried . . . nothing.
In my more compassionate moments I want to tell myself, “Duh! You’ve been through a lot lately!” but most of the time I just wonder what’s wrong with me.
I wonder about Jesus’s followers after the emotions of Holy Week. They’d been through a lot too. How did they reengage in their lives? How did they form coherent thoughts again? How did they continue to minister to those around them?
Having seen the resurrected Christ, his followers began to reflect on his words to them months, even years, earlier. Jesus’s claims started to make sense, and on Easter Monday, hope took on a new meaning.
And so, with these past six weeks of change behind me, I look ahead. Because I must. Because I can. I’m realizing that at times I have to stop, to reflect, to pray, to grieve, to be there for those I love, and then, most importantly, to keep moving forward, “rejoicing in confident hope” (Rom. 12:12).
The sad and scary days of these past six weeks are over. We’ve gotten some really amazing answers to prayer for both my daughter and my mom, and I’m so grateful.
It’s Easter Monday. The tomb is forever empty.
Time to start again.