Good news when life gets messy

DSCN6980There’s a little voice whispering in my head, “Let it go, move on. No one wants to hear about Easter any more. That was three whole weeks ago.”
The little voice might be right. It might not. I’m coming back here anyway because I need the whole fifty days of Eastertide, and I suspect I’m not alone. I need to keep remembering that the coming of new life isn’t instant, that if I really want Jesus’ resurrection life to be lived in and through me I have to be prepared for a long process. A life-long process.
I can’t help but wonder how we got deluded into thinking of Easter as a quick and easy single day filled with Easter bunnies and spring flowers and little chicks as the symbols of new life. Pretty pastels, velvet bows—let’s pretend the coming of new life is tidy and pretty and neat. Controllable. Quick.
It isn’t.
In my experience as an obstetrician, the coming of new life is often long and almost always messy and painful.
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Jesus died before he was raised again—a slow and excruciating struggle.
All of his followers struggled through stretches of confusion and unbelief and fear before the reality of the resurrected Jesus settled into their souls.
A grandmother prays through the night for her grandson.
A woman weeps for a friend.
In the reshaping of a relationship there are stretches of pain and fear so great one thinks she might break, and then a chance to breathe before the next contraction comes.
When we see that the messy places of life are places of giving birth—or being born—they are so much less frightening than if we think the standard is tidy pink bows and we’re failing to uphold it.
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Transformation is always a process, folks.
The messy and painful places are the places in which Jesus’ resurrection life is pressing through whatever is in its way to become more fully enfleshed in us. So let’s get over the myth of quick and easy and learn to breathe with each other and give hugs and massage backs and not panic when we feel like we might break.
There’s a good chance that Jesus’ life is coming into being in us in some new, deeper way. And that is always worth it.

IMG_3553“My dear children, for whom I am in the pains of childbirth until Christ is formed in you . . .” (Gal 4:19)