“if we don’t feel the death, do we feel the resurrection?”

LIFESTYLE, MINDFULNESS

Life’s been hell these last several months, turned up-side-down as they say, whoever they are — although heart-inside-out-and-shred-like-spaghetti might be more like it.  I know this might seem melodramatic to you who read the more edited, put-together version of our world, but it isn’t always head scarves and funny stories around here. You see, we’ve anticipated the end of a specific journey for years, noticing the orange signs warning us along the way. ROAD CLOSED, they read, each one passing faster than the last. But we can’t get off; we’re not driving. So we plead, begging the trusted driver, this “partner” to let us off. He can keep the car; we want our lives. “Trust me,” he says. “I know this road; I can beat this. I’ve locked the doors to keep you safe, and of course, there’s plenty of air bags. Just hang on,” and we do because we have no choice. Don’t ask me for the details because I can’t tell you of our experienced great betrayal, hurt, and robbed inheritance; I can’t tell you how we banged on glass windows and picked at locks, screaming our desperate prayers to God; I can’t tell you of our eventual explosion through that final road block and how even now we wait, caught somewhere between the cliff’s edge and solid ground, choking as our stomachs fly upward into our throats. I want to, but I can’t. And most days, this choking, white-knuckled ride is just too much. (You’ll just have to wait, and maybe one day Lifetime will make it a movie. Only be sure when they do to remember your tissue box; it’s gonna be a tear-jerker.)

I’m saying all this to my mother the other day, fighting to hope when doubt seems so much easier, and she reminds me of those three days, the three days between the death and resurrection. Immediately, I think back to an interview with the Romanian playwright András Visky my friend Joy shared with me so many years ago. He mentions those days, the ones my husband and I [and the rest of his family] feel right now in our mid-air suspension, focused on the “thoughts about . . . [Christ’s] death . . . forgetting every promise about the Resurrection.” I wept as I re-read Visky’s words, identifying with those disciples huddled together in a fear that manages to erase all that Christ had just spoken to them. And still I wonder, is the Resurrection really coming?

ANDRÁS VISKY: It is unbelievable but this is our life, to forget all the promises. Those three chapters from John where He talks about His departure and return –how can they forget this? They forget because the death is so obvious, so real, so natural, so present, that you can feel it. It seems that we, today, don’t feel the death. And the question is, if we don’t feel the death, do we feel the resurrection? It seems to me that we, the church today, have forgotten those three days in between Good Friday and Easter Sunday. We never speak about those three days because the Gospels are mainly silent about them. As if to cut out from the history of the cosmos those three days. And it seems that we today have forgotten them totally. But from my perspective, a good and accurate representation of the already-not-yet could be that period. To touch with one hand, if you want, Good Friday and to touch with the other hand, Easter Sunday.

THE NEW PANTAGRUEL: To touch with faith or belief, or with what?

ANDRÁS VISKY: To touch with our hand (laughs), because these other words are too nice. Faith is a good word but we have to add something to it. In this period, in these hours after the crucifixion and before the resurrection, there is no faith. There is a coming faith. Faith is on the way. But it’s not there yet.

In this empty space of “between,” I relax my clawing hands for the moment to reach and try to touch both the death and resurrection. Faith is on the way.

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  1. I just wish you knew how I cherish you, Bethany (and the whole Douglass & Douglass clan for that matter). Strange – but I suppose not since it’s Easter week – I was just settling down to read the Visky interview again, too, so it ministers to me to read that it is still moving you, too. :) Another play for you… Do you know Thornton Wilder’s one-act The Angle that Troubled the Waters?

    I’ve thought of this line several times as I’ve prayed for you all: (It’s an angel who appears to explain to a physician why he can’t step in to the healing pool–why this particular healing is not for him) And he says, “Without your wounds where would your power be? It is your melancholy that makes your low voice tremble into the hearts of men and women. The very angels themselves cannot persuade the wretched and blundering children on earth as can one human being broken on the wheels of living. In Love’s service, only wounded soldiers can serve. Physician, draw back.”

    1. Yes, still moving me. I’ll check out the other one. Thanks & missing you!

  2. Thanks Tito, Rich, & Kristen for your very encouraging words.

  3. Unbelievably beautiful and full of hope. Of course you of all us can write in just a few paragraphs what this season has felt like, Bethany. Thanks for that. When folks ask, I will just be referring them to this writing. Thanks for taking the time and tears to flesh this out in words, it feels really good and pure to experience our choice in these times in the written word.

    love you-

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