It’s the day after. The one that usually pulls you down.
The day after Thanksgiving is such a downer we call it Black Friday. Retail therapy is the only upper we know for such a downer. The day after Christmas is the same, and everyone goes to see a “holiday movie.”
The day after Easter is always flat for me. I look out the window and the world has not changed. After all the trumpets and timpani, the crowds at church, the feasting and champagning, the exuberant joy at the promise of a life untrammeled by death, it’s back to “normal.” All day long we greeted one another with “Alleluia. Christ is risen!” And the response sang back, “The Lord is risen indeed. Alleluia!” Is that true on Monday? I’m not sure I see it . . . .
I look out the window and see the cars going by, people heading to work, the same woman I see walking by my house every morning walks by, two squirrels chase each other up the cherry tree, the garbage truck rumbles by. Then, usually, I smile. The promise of resurrection was not to change the world, but to change me. Until our hearts have been truly converted, we will always pull the great spiritual truths into the little, needy circle of self. “Easter” will mean that God is going to go poof and change all the bad things around me that I don’t like. God is going to take away my pain, poof and my sickness is gone, poof again and my job will come back. Then we look out the window and—nothing has changed.
The bigger truth of Easter—if we can let it pull us into its larger orb instead of always pulling it into our nail-biting little circle!—is that the world is rigged for life. And every little dying gives rise to a spurt of new life. Can you trust that? If I can surrender to that, even just a little, I will be changed, and then I will not need God to go poof to the universe anymore and make it all different so I can enjoy life. God will be slowly, quietly making me different, and it will not be possible to look out the window on the day after Easter and see the world in quite the same way ever again.