This past year was one of great loss and sorrow for our family. Tragedy came in waves, one after another bringing debilitating illness, death, separation and passing of our dreams. The future we imagined and looked forward to disappeared with a cosmic roll of the dice. Each new event set us back on our journey through grief’s messy and painful terrain. There were days when it was almost too much to bear, and I had to remember to just keep breathing.
The story of Easter reminds us that without suffering there is no salvation. Without death, no resurrection. We witness the cycle of life all around us. The first green seedling that breaks through charred ground after a devastating wildfire. The crocus that blooms through snow. The crisp, blue sky after a hurricane’s fury. The burial of a loved one, and conception of a new life.
In my work, I frequently advise clients that they have to let go of what is to make room for what can be. These are difficult conversations, sorting through and determining what needs to be released, divested, allowed to die. In medicine, we are driven to fix things, to restore health, to save lives. Death is defeat. What we practice at the bedside carries over into our vocation, into our ego.
And so we resist it. Shock and disbelief give way to anger. In the heated squabbles I tried to have with God, he refused to engage. I wanted explanations. God just sent love. I wanted our old life back. God’s grace arrived on a rainbow. In a dark hour, I surrendered. There were no answers, only experiences. Only love.
Acceptance is bitter medicine. Without it, there can be no healing.
Death, in all its forms – loss of youth, loss of health, loss of life, loss of spouse, loss of self – is a messenger of resurrection, and can lead to a new covenant between oneself and the universe. Rebirth is simply letting go of what was once important to make way for new blessings. But, there are few things more terrifying than trading the safety of what we know for the possibilities of the unknown.
An open heart is all it takes. Through it, we emerge from the darkness. We radiate love. We receive miracles. We witness the sacred in everyday occurrences. And we begin again.
Today, I know that my blessings are more bountiful than my sorrows. I have a loving and wonderful family. Friends, colleagues and clients that enrich my life in ways too plentiful to count. And even though our family is still traversing the harrowing twists and turns through a dark and seemingly haunted forest, we are bound by love in our journey. There is no turning back. Our treasures are here in this moment and with every step we take forward.
Thank you dear readers for letting me tell this difficult story. Whatever your faith, I wish you the miracle of rebirth on this Easter morning.