Today was a choir holiday. Although this means that I get to have my morning cappuccino actually sitting at a table in my favourite cafe, rather than getting a take-away to bring with me to rehearsal, I loathe choir holidays. No rehearsal. No singing. It’s horrible.
But of course, it wouldn’t cross my mind to skip out on Mass just because it’s a choir holiday, so along I went to sit with my friends in the congregation. And, listening to the sermon, something struck me. We spend so much time talking about death and resurrection in the church, and we see it as unquestioningly a good thing. Which, of course, it is – don’t get me wrong. I’m as happy as anyone that the horror of Good Friday, and the bleak, empty reality of Holy Saturday, are followed by the incredulous wonder of Easter Day. But this morning I realised: in and of itself, resurrection is an agonising process.
Think of the last time your leg went to sleep. Think of that moment of bracing yourself to move, to allow the blood to rush back into numbed flesh. Severe pins and needles is actually quite excruciating, as the nerves scream their protest at what’s going on. Metaphorically, then, how much more agonising is the re-animation of a dead, inert being, of life forcing its way down closed veins and into flesh suddenly jerked back from decay and deterioration?
For a very long time, I was dead. Not physically dead – of course I don’t mean that. Spiritually, emotionally, creatively, though, there was nothing. No growth, no life. My energy was taken up in simply surviving. Now – now that I have re-learned safety and am well on the way to regaining strength and rebuilding my life – I am going through a period of resurrection, as that which was dead and stagnant is renewed. What I’m struggling with at the moment is the blessed pain (if that’s not a contradiction in terms!) of blood forcing its way in and bringing life where there has been none for a very long time.
Like everything, I trust that it will get better. The pins and needles will ease, and then be gone, and I will be left with life.