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Hey World, how are you holding up? Are you OK? Just checking in…
Here we are a year later, celebrating a second Easter during this pandemic. We’ve come a long way…haven’t we? Although signs of Easter traditions, springtime, the careful reopening of the world, and brighter days are apparent…life and Easter still feel different as we come out of our Covid-19 hideaways, which we have organized, reorganized probably a few hundred times since isolation started. Does Marie Kondo ring a bell? We continue the task of unlearning, relearning and rediscovering it all, so that we can create our “new norm” and begin the healing process. Everything has changed, some for the better and some for the worse. Thankfully, the Easter message of renewal and hope remains constant. It remains timeless. It’s a promise of better days to come, and I believe that those days are coming.
As we search to find our “new norm,” we are afraid but also empowered at the same time. While in isolation and quarantine, we sure had all the time in the world (too much time for some) for reflection and deep and truthful introspection. Although it was overwhelming, it also empowered us. We now have the ability and the knowledge to choose which parts of our yesterdays we will take with us, which parts we cannot wait to let go of. We have an opportunity to change things.
Yes, we were all forced to spend a lot of time isolated with ourselves, our partners, our children, our ailments, our hopes, our creativity, our fears, and even our pets. Oh boy! For some it was a prison. For others, it was truly a sanctuary. I found comfort in having my family at home, but the dishes I washed…never again! I suddenly love paper plates, and I’m certain that I’m not the only one. Confess! During this unprecedented time and in between the chaos, I chose to hold close to my heart the beautiful, priceless moments filled with love and wonderful memories while we all tried to cope…together…the best we could under the circumstances.
Yes, we have suffered many different kinds of losses: financial losses, loss of routines, loss of freedoms, loss of human connection, but the most important was the loss of millions of beautiful people. We have suffered anxiety, sorrow, grief, inequities, uncertainty, and deep fear, but we have finally reached that “last mile.” This is the hardest and the most crucial mile, because this is when we start to lose focus and we become vulnerable to make mistakes that can set us back and harm us. I recall, a few years ago before my ankle injury, I used to love to run at the track. Wearing my very trendy sneakers and running attire, I would smile and think to myself, “Wow, look at me go!” I would suddenly start thinking about random things and people-watch as I ran. Because I saw that finish line so close, I got lazy and then the dreaded last mile happened! Awful! I know we’re exhausted and craving the celebration at the finish line, but we’re almost there…resolution, renewal and hope! Stay focused and vigilant, World! It’s a new beginning filled with awesome possibility.
As I try to make sense of the past year, I grieve along with the world. However, I also rejoice along with the world for our humanity and solidarity during this time. We absolutely had conflicts, but we also had progress and better days. Suddenly, the small things we overlooked and took for granted in the past, seem like gifts and miracles today. I’m tired, humbled, and thankful.
When facing my own fears in my life, I always…always find solace in returning to the story of Jesus at Mount of Olives in the Garden of Gethsemane. This Easter, especially, I feel a deeper connection with this biblical story—His story…the greatest ever told. I can’t help but find parallels as I connect this story with my own and the world’s pandemic distress. Jesus too was in darkness and the deepest fear when faced with His own suffering, His shaming through crucifixion, and His death before His ultimate Resurrection. In agony, he prayed to God, “Abba! Father, for you all things are possible; remove this cup from me, yet not my will, but your will be done.” Can you even begin to imagine that? Our Jesus in deep anxiety and distress, afraid to die as we have experienced. It’s one of the most intimate and most honest moments between Father and a fear-filled Son. Jesus showed us His divinity and His humanity…completely. The cup could not be taken away. Jesus had a mission to fulfill so that we could be given renewal and hope, so we could be saved through His Resurrection. He knew this and accepted it for us. Let Him be our model as our world comes out of this pandemic’s “last mile” to find the message of Easter…renewed life and hope.
As Jesus experienced darkness, anxiety, and grief in Gethsemane, so have we now. As Jesus was alone, so we have been in isolation and quarantine. And, as He faced shame, crucifixion, and death, so we have dealt with our own form of horrors. We have endured the endless Covid-19 testing, vaccinations, mask shaming and death or illness during the pandemic. Let us understand this and react with the same faith in our situation today. Because God did send an Angel to lighten the burden of his son’s fears and to strengthen Him. And I find solace in knowing that God will lighten my burdens as well.
In our lives, we too can be good and do all the right things but catastrophic events will still take place. Life on earth is imperfect as we know, but life is sweet. As we move onward, our cup may not be taken from us. In life, suffering is inevitable. Nevertheless, God sends angels. Sometimes, those angels are disguised as people from our communities and all over the world. Going forward is going to be tough but again, life is sweet. The angels are many, and God’s love for us is endless. We continue moving forward. We pray, and we thank God for the gift of renewal, hope, life, and light. Stay focused! Be loving! Be compassionate and kind to yourselves and to others! Help those in need, always!
We’ve got this! God bless! I love my children!
Christos Anesti to all! Christ is Risen! Truly He is Risen!