It is now the Easter season in the Western Christian church.
Eastern/Orthodox Christians will not observe Easter until May 7. They are still in Lent.
You do know that Easter is the re-named pagan spring celebration called Eostre, that was co-opted by Christianity, right? Once the Roman Emperor Constantine the Great became Christian, he propagated a policy of re-naming and Christianizing pagan special days. So he was a proponent of the faith, but he waited until his dying day to be baptized because he figured that would cover (all his sins) (his butt).
For us Christians, Easter is the celebration of the resurrection of Christ, the burgeoning of new life, as we see all around us at this time of year.
The day of the crucifixion is remembered on Good Friday. I have asked lots of times what was so good about it, but it is a necessary part of the Triduum, the three days of Easter: first, a meal together with Jesus washing the disciples’ feet to show his servanthood on Thursday, followed by Jesus’ death and his followers’ and family’s despair on Friday, followed by resurrection Sunday morning, followed by what I recently saw described as the terror of the women who came to the tomb to wash Jesus’ body. They found the tomb empty and were told by a man there (who was that guy?) that Jesus was gone. He was alive. How were they supposed to process this?
There is not a one of us who has not experienced a personal Good Friday, when despair gains the advantage. Like the disciples on that first dark Friday, we think it is all over and we see no way out.
Those of us who experience depression certainly know that feeling. Perhaps if you are not subject to depression, you experience that feeling only when someone you love dies, or some other misfortune of that magnitude occurs. I do not know.
At those times, like the disciples, we do not believe that Easter is coming. It usually is not someone dead coming back to life, although I do not rule out the possibility. It is an upwelling of the life inside you. It might take some time and a good therapist, but you are glad you did not give up.
We all experience resurrections in our lives. Perhaps reconnecting with a family member or a friend whom you thought was lost to you; the mending of a broken marriage; the child you were told was developmentally delayed, who was actually deaf and is in fact rather brilliant; some modest victory that you were convinced could not happen; learning that the object of your affection reciprocates your feelings (that is when the trouble begins, but that’s another essay).
My dog, Marley, experienced a resurrection miracle this Easter week.
She had stopped eating and drinking. She was sick and in pain, and her hind legs gave out beneath her.
Monday morning was a Good Friday day for me, as I drove her to the vet’s, believing that she would not come home again.
The vet tecs carried her into the clinic on a stretcher, and they told me to go home, and they would call me in a while. I did not think there was anything they could do for her, but okay.
I figured that if I brought Marley home, it would be to do doggy hospice.
The call came in an hour or so: come and pick her up. Really?
The vet said Marley had a bad infection. They walloped her with antibiotics and sent us home with more pills for Marley.
Giving her the pills at home was a wrestling match because she was not eating. Once I got the pills down her throat, she retreated to the other couch and would not speak to me for a few hours.
On Tuesday she was slightly better; on Wednesday, she began to drink water; on Thursday she began to eat, and I was able to wrap pills in cheese and chicken and she snarfed them right down.
By Friday she was almost her old self, starting to bark and beg again.
I imagine this is how people felt during World War II when penicillin saved lives that would have been lost before that time. Antibiotics are miracles. My dog was pulled back from the brink.
I want to thank Dr. Teri Byrd and her staff at the 4 Paws Veterinary Clinic for kindness and swift treatment of my Marley. And thanks to Sylvia at Fair Isle, who when they could not fit Marley in, gave me the number for 4 Paws.
Island veterinarians and their staff members rock, and resurrection is real, if you know how to recognize it.