I just finished reading an encouraging post by Jacque Watkins about heartbreak at Easter. Jacque’s words met me here in this mess yet again. When I thought I was the only one hurting, the only one feeling broken – I was reminded that not every smiling face is what it seems.
To see our “Resurrection Day” pictures, you would think our Easter was like everyone else’s: celebrating the Risen Savior and the gift of the resurrection, the pinnacle of our faith as Christians and the reason we have hope – all amidst balmy spring weather, fresh flowers, and pastel colors.
In reality, by the time I got done snapping the few photos I took, I wished I hadn’t bothered.
Somewhere around 6:45 A.M., Ezra knocked on our door and scared the living daylights out of my husband, who jumped out of bed yelling in panic. The day just went downhill from there.
Anxiety was high all the way around. Everyone was tense and everyone’s nerves were rubbing everyone the wrong way.
Ezra was less than cooperative and Russ was annoyed and I felt naive for even trying to attempt something so normal like…say…family photos on a holiday.
When we finally made it to church, ten minutes late, we were all on edge.
And then there was a screaming baby in the nursery.
Russell’s fists were clenched and he was frozen and he was about to lose it. I grabbed his hand and rushed toward the door and took him to the auditorium with me where he could sit alone in the pews while our choir practiced the Easter program.
Once the program was over, I was drained. Depleted. I’m sure the sermon was fabulous, but we were both struggling to stay awake. And in the moments when I wasn’t, I couldn’t focus because I was angry.
On the way home I scrolled through a Facebook news feed of happy families, Easter egg hunts, and post after post praising God and the Risen Savior and I just felt nothing…nothing, that is, except the guilt and anger toward myself that I didn’t feel anything.
All I could think about was how much I wish our life could be like that…normal. Where a family enjoys a holiday because it’s not riddled with anxiety, fighting, and exhaustion. Where I could freely worship and feel praise within my heart for the God that I know I love…instead of being too tired and frustrated to feel anything but apathy toward the most important holiday on the calendar.
I was really thankful that we didn’t have church in the evening because it gave us time to rest and relax…we went to the park, which turned stressful when Ezra was less than cooperative and Russ didn’t understand why. It ended when Ezra threw mulch at me.
On the way home from the park, I buried myself in a game of Spider Solitaire on my phone because I was just over it…over this day. Angry. Ashamed at myself and my anger and my apathy and just wishing that things weren’t this way.
I went to bed frustrated and was so glad to let sleep overtake me.
Today has been better. Much better. Busy and exhausting but in the best ways. We enjoyed family time at the zoo and other fun stuff and I ended the day feeling like I can live this life another day.
Acceptance of our “normal” even though it might not look like the “normal” of others.
So when I read these words, tears welled up within my eyes and I knew they were written for me.
These words encouraged me in my Easter brokenness. And I want you to be encouraged too. Because, I think for as many people as might be shocked by my ugly honesty, I’m guessing there might be just as many people who needed to hear that they aren’t alone in brokenness and heartbreak and struggle to worship.
Dear one who feels broken at Easter:
“Wherever you find yourself this day after your resurrection celebration, may you know there is no wrecking you can’t survive.
No brokenness He can’t repair.
No sorrow in which He doesn’t join you.
And so very much miracle-working rebuilding ahead as you abide in Him.”