After recent events and what appears to be a plane crash that was a suicide mission, it seems more important than ever to keep our thoughts clear, especially faced with events that are so hard to fathom. We have had many of them recently. Acts of terrorism seen on television with a human being burned alive as a message to the world, equally distressing acts of terrorism in Paris with people in a grocery store taken hostage and some killed, and now what appeared to be a healthy apparently normal young person allegedly turning a normal flight into a suicide mission, taking 150 innocents with him. The common thread here is that innocent people became victims and lost their lives while pursuing ordinary activities, buying bread, or taking a short flight in the course of a school trip, or on vacation. We are all the innocent victims of these acts, whatever the reasons for them, political or not. We somehow seem to get caught in the crossfire, or the acts of troubled minds, and our lives are changed forever. Even if we are in the outer circle of these acts, they shake our faith, our belief system, they engender fear as soon as we or our loved ones leave home. We worry about each other and ourselves, and a darkness takes hold of world thought, our trust in our fellow man is shaken, and the forces of evil appear to win another round. Most of us, wherever we live, whatever we do for a living, pursue ordinary lives, worry about our kids, groan at our taxes or when our car breaks down, we pay our bills, scold our kids, walk our dogs, buy our groceries, and do our laundry. We dont expect tragedy to strike us or those standing next to us in the course of our daily lives. We are profoundly shocked by the acts we read about, and disheartened. We dont feel as safe as we used to. We are all touched by it. We are in just as much danger in the parking lot of our local supermarket if someone goes nuts, as we are getting on a plane to someplace exotic. These random acts affect us all. We are linked by a bond of humanity that has been severely disrupted in recent months. These are not easy times to live in. And while our countries and leaders fight their battles, we are just trying to lead good, ordinary lives, and take care of our loved ones.
More than ever, with the reports we see now, and given the people who run amok on a grand or small scale, whatever the reasons, we need to focus on the things that keep us strong, and allow us to believe in the good things in life. And whatever one’s religion, the degree of one’s faith or none at all, the message that has always meant the most to me is that of “Resurrection” at this time of year. Much of the focus in Christian beliefs is on ‘crucifixion’ at this time of year, on unmerited punishment, and the pains that exist in all of our lives. The losses, the sorrows, the griefs, the things we do not always understand which befall us, and happen to us all. People we love die, people get sick, we lose jobs, money, houses, safety, security, we get divorced, mugged on the street, something happens to one of our kids, small griefs and large ones. It happens to us all, no one is exempt from the pains in life, though some people are luckier than others. But sadness hits us all at some point. But more important than the bad things is how we deal with them, how we get up again after we get knocked down, how we believe in people again, and ourselves, how we rise from the ashes of the flash fires in our lives. Resurrection. In the Christian faith, this week are the darkest days of the year, which honor the crucifixion of Christ on Good Friday. I have always liked crosses, but not crucifixes, which seems to put the emphasis on the wrong thing, to me. What seems most important is the notion of resurrection, rebirth, starting over, having the guts to get up and move forward again. Easter Sunday is the celebration of the resurrection, that rebirth, the power of life, instead of the message of death. Now to me, that positive message of rebirth seems something truly worth celebrating, whatever your beliefs. It is the message of not just survival, but of strength. We have all had bad things happen to us. The key, the most vital part is getting up again when you’ve been knocked down. I have a little saying on my office wall that says “Bounce Back”, just those two words to remind me, when I am in the pit of feeling sorry for myself, to get up and get going again. We HAVE to. No matter how hard, or how impossible it seems at times. We MUST continue, no matter what we see on the news, or what friend disappoints us, or what loved one hurts our feelings, or robs us of peace or good feelings. We cant let the bad guys win. We just cant. We cant afford to, or it pulls our own lives down. However we get there, with or without religious beliefs, we have to find rebirth in our own lives, even after reading about something like the plane that was brought down on a suicide mission, even when things are tough in our own lives. We have to bounce back. That is what makes the notion of resurrection so important. It’s a far bigger message than any other to me. I love all the warmth and coziness and shared joy and fun of Christmas, but the really big message, to me anyway, is the one of resurrection, of rebirth, of starting over, no matter how tough life or the world seems at the moment, or what we’ve been through. And the darker the world seems, the more important that message of rebirth is.
My wish for you, for myself, for each and all of us, and my prayer, is that you find that moment of rebirth, the strength to go on, or just stand up, that we continue to believe in the light and not the darkness. In some big or small way, may you find a moment of rebirth. We all need that. It is the very essence of hope.
One of my favorite sayings is what Anne Frank said, the young girl who was hidden with her family during the war, and eventually died in a concentration camp with them. She was 15 years old, and said “In spite of everything, I still believe that people are truly good at heart”. It sounds naive, we see and hear and know of so much evidence to the contrary. I cling to those words as a message of hope for us all.
May you have a moment of rebirth, of light shining into your heart and life, despite the darkness we hear and read about every day. Resurrection. Rebirth. The world needs your light to counter its darkness. May we all shine brightly together, no matter what we see and hear around us.
with all my love, Danielle