It is Easter. It is Spring. It is the season to rise.
Last Easter I found myself in the fetal position on the floor of my parents’ bedroom. I was dealing with intense physical pain. The months and months of chemo had left me tired, and broken. I was crying. The people I love the most felt helpless as they watched me struggle. It was a low point, for sure. And it didn’t feel much like Easter. Instead of rising, I was breaking, I was falling. I was slipping under.
This Easter – for starters- I have hair! I felt like singing at church. My muscles are sore from taking a spin class. I laughed while my kids bit off the tops of their jellybeans and smashed the two remaining pieces together- creating their own flavors. I had pumpkin pancakes, and coffee. I built Legos, and drew really terrible pictures of Easter bunnies. I shared a delicious meal with my family and friends. This year, I felt like rising.
But I’ve come to learn that rising isn’t always this dramatic. It doesn’t have to be broken to whole, bald to hair (crazy thick hair that I don’t know what to do with), crying to singing, weak to strong. It doesn’t have to be that clear. Sometimes the rising happens in the in between. Sometimes the rising happens in minutes, or moments. Sometimes it is simply making the decision to look up, to ignore the voice of fear, to start over, to try something new, or to just realize that you are okay. Right now in this very moment – you are okay.
Yesterday my boys were riding their bikes up and down the sidewalk while Joel worked in the yard. I was getting dinner ready when Alex ran in the house and told me that Andy was hurt. I ran outside and found Joel carrying a hysterical Andy towards the house. Andy’s knee was bleeding, but he was okay. He had attempted to follow his older brother up a steep driveway, but instead of being able to turn his bike from the driveway to the sidewalk, his tiny bike sped straight into the street and then toppled over. Joel watched the entire thing. He said he sprinted as fast as he could to get to Andy, but it felt like he was moving in slow motion. All parents know this fear. One minute we are all here, riding bikes, blowing leaves, making dinner, looking forward to snuggling up to watch Harry Potter, and eat popcorn -and the next minute life happens –and tiny bikes roll out into the street. Andy is okay. There wasn’t a car flying down our street at that exact moment . . . but there could have been. After the boys were tucked in last night, Joel and I sat next to each other and together we felt the weight of the “could-have-beens” and the “what ifs.” But we also felt grateful. We didn’t let ourselves stay with the fear for too long. We know our boys will be back out on their bikes. And they will teach us about rising.
The things that break us, and make us bleed – they rip us open so that we can heal. It will always be like this. This cycle of winter to spring, dark to light, broken to whole.
We can’t escape this promise.