I’ve celebrated Easter before. My whole life I’ve dressed up, colored eggs, gone to church.
But this year was different. This year, I realized resurrection.
I’m not sure how the realization came.
Maybe it came because this was the first time I gardened. My mother once said, “Gardening is prayer.” I never believed her until I physically saw the transformation of dead earth into mustard greens and zucchini plants. I never realized how good the pulse of the sun felt on my back after months of gray. I never saw seeds push through the darkness of soil and become new life — until this year, when I realized resurrection.
Maybe it came because this was the first time I’ve ever felt depression. This winter was the first time there were no windows in the tomb. The first time I held myself crying in the shower wondering if the emptiness would stop. This year was the first time I saw Lent as a season to sit in deep sadness. The first time I realized that Mary Magdalene sat at the tomb simply because she was just so sad.
Maybe it came because this was the first time I’ve fully embraced a Christian community. The first time I’ve intimately walked through the liturgical season with the same people. The first time I shared the miracle of Christmas and the deep sadness of Lent in the eyes of other vulnerable humans. The first time I’ve attended an entire week of Holy Week services. The first time I sat in the dark on Good Friday after service ended and cried.
This year, I realized resurrection and I’m not exactly sure why.
This year, as I looked around at my newly found church community, I felt awe. I could smell the bulbs of the tulips that garnered the sanctuary. I could feel the light breaking through the windows. It’s not that everyone in the church was smiling (which they were) or that the sermon was absolutely incredible (though it was), but there was just this feeling.
With each hymn, I could sense the weight of the stone being rolled away. For some reason, this year, this feeling of resurrection, in all its irrationality, felt real.
There was this all-encompassing feeling that so many people needed this. So many people needed hope. So many people needed resurrection.
My jury is still out on this whole Jesus thing. A man coming back from the dead? Seems pretty unlikely to me. But what is the resurrection other than having hope for what seems impossible?
Planting seeds in the earth, crying in the tomb, sitting in the darkness and then, hoping that new life will come.
Resurrection is praying and then knowing that new life will come.
Kaeley McEvoy is Campaigns Assistant for Sojourners.