Perhaps strength doesn’t reside in the denial of ever having being broken, but in the courage required to grow strong in the broken places.
We all have wounds that haunt our histories. We all were sacrificed on the altar of humanities free will. We all have been broken. I grew up in a society that told me if I was sad or hurting then I should rely more on God. That if I was depressed- it was simply because I was letting the devil have a foothold in my life and wasn’t acknowledging all the blessings God had given me. A society in which I should be guilty for the capacity for hurt my heart holds. Which is a great capacity.
And I have operated well in this guilt driven society. When pain enters my horizon, or takes over my existence I lament for a minute before I turn on my ‘autopilot optimism’ that is wired into all of us with every Christian sermon we hear preached. I have sat within spitting distance of many sermons, so mine is finely tuned. I maintain a smile on my face, ignoring the fact that it is slowly becoming a mask to hide behind. That by not allowing myself the pain of walking through the hurt, I was selling my redemption story short.
Every Easter my family and I would go see a play at my Aunt’s church. A white man portraying Jesus would be beating, scourged, and hung from a cross while Roman soldiers played games to win his clothes. Mind you Jesus was rarely wearing any clothes during the whole rest of the play so why would they want to bet over his scraps they tore during the beating, I have no idea. The lights would be turned off and dramatically Christ would take his last breath. The next scene was always Roman soldiers standing in front of a big styrofoam round ‘rock’. Quickly the tomb would be opened and within five minutes of Jesus’ final breath he would be up and happy and walking around.
But stop for a moment here: can you imagine what was happening within the disciples during those couple of inbetween days? Jesus had said “I’ll be back” and yet I am sure once Jesus was actually dead they were all nervous and sad and scared and yes even depressed. This man they had devoted their lives to was now dead and though he had said there’s hope and light at the end of this tunnel I am sure they were concerned and confused.
Sometimes the resurrection isn’t in sight.
And it is scary.
And we all want to rush to the resurrection and get the happiness back. We want Jesus to be buried and then the next scene for him to be breaking bread and having doubting Thomas stick his hand in Jesus’ side. We want that in our own lives too. Immediately rushing from sadness to optimism within a few breaths. But when we do that we are robbing ourselves of a chance to grow in strength. We do not like the terrifying in between of doubt and confusion and waiting. I hate being in the dark unsure place. I refuse to be a mime in the middle though, simply skirting around the edges of life refusing to let the fire burn me or denying when it does. I also am choosing to not let the mud overcome me and get stuck in my pain and despair. Instead I choose the path of walking through my pain. I may not see the resurrection in sight but I admit that it is okay to fumble in darkness. I do not see the light at the end of the tunnel right now. I too am human and hurting.
I refuse to accept the guilt that says I need to get happy fast or else I am being less than Christian.
I refuse to accept the stigma that is associated with being in a state of hurting.
You can’t know love so great if you aren’t plagued by pain so deep.