This was our Easter run down- We attended a family friendly service in person, albeit on a screen in the fellowship hall of our church (and it was not lost on our adult children that we could have easily watched from our own screen in the comfort of our home, unmasked and in pajamas). We went to brunch, which was actually lunch, and my son, who came dressed without a tie, had to wear one from the establishment’s collection; it was bright pink. After lunch, I made a quick stop to visit the baby bunnies that the day before we had found motherless and delivered to a vet for safekeeping. And then in the afternoon, I found myself alone at my desk, once again trying to score a vaccination appointment online (maybe new time slots had been uploaded while the over-16, not-yet-vaccinated population of Connecticut was on an easter egg hunt – no luck) and wondering about the word resurrection.
And although it was Easter – the most miraculous example of a resurrection – when I sat down Sunday afternoon, I was considering the word in a much more secular way.
I looked up the etymology of resurrection – or more precisely the verb to resurrect – and this is what stood out to me from a long list of Latin derivatives and such:
To rise up, to get up, to stand up again
When I was growing up, I spent a few summers learning to sail and race in a wigeon (a small, two-person fiberglass sailboat). The first summer I acted as crew for a skipper, a girl just a year older than me, but with much better boat handling skills. I was just happy to be told what to do.
My second year, I was promoted to skipper and given a crew member to sail with me – a girl a year younger and brand new to the sport. I was a horrible skipper. I did not like going fast or when the boat tipped, or telling anyone what to do for that matter. In fact, every time we picked up speed and the boat began to heal, I would immediately steer the boat into the wind and cause a sail-flapping stall. Needless to say, I didn’t win a race that summer, and I did not return to sailing the next.
I was terrified of capsizing. And I was worried that once upside down I would not be able to turn the boat right side up again.
I was older when I learned that I could actually tip over and then right myself, and that by avoiding the possibility of capsizing and maybe even sinking, I was actually depriving myself of a lot.
Fast forward to the summer after my junior year of high school. In the spring, I had applied to and had been hired at a tennis academy; I was pretty proud of myself. But when I returned home from boarding school, I reached out to the tennis professional who had hired me only to find out that he had been fired and there was no record of my impending employment. They were full and had no room for me. I was devastated.
I screamed and yelled for a few days – it’s just not fair! And then I went to work searching for a new job, though most students had long since secured their summer jobs. I was starting from scratch and not having much luck. One afternoon, it occurred to me – or probably someone gave me the good advice – why don’t you reach out to some families with private courts (which is not uncommon in our town) and teach tennis to their kids.
I got on the phone (email was not a thing yet) and I found some students. And guess what? I made more money than I would have working for someone else, and I was able to set my own schedule.
I resurrected what at first looked like a failed summer. But more than that, I learned an important lesson: I could choose to get back up even after things had gone awry.
When I was pregnant with our twins, I spent the summer in a bed. In June, I had gone to my twenty-week ultrasound and was sent directly to the hospital – do not pass go! I was totally unaware that life as I knew it was about to change dramatically and that our twins were in grave danger. I got in bed…and didn’t get out. It was a very long summer, one that I watched from the window – an incredible view, really.
In the end, I thankfully gave birth to two healthy boys. But before that, I had to learn to walk again; after months on bedrest, my legs were twigs and I had gotten big – really big!
Muscle memory is on our side though, and I learned how to get up and stand again, and I needed all of that and more to raise our two very active boys.
So many times since, I have learned to resurrect, because doing so is a big part of our existence. I have watched too, as our children have had to resurrect after experiencing personal failings or roadblocks. And we have all seen countless professional athletes and teams fight their way back and resurrect a season that looked doomed.
Sometimes it might feel easier to simply throw in the towel – to scream, it’s not fair! – and give up, but the human spirit is strong and gritty.
Life has a way of laughing with us (and sometimes at us). After my less-than-illustrious sailing career, I married a sailor. I still don’t like to heal; it makes me a little nervous and I am much happier cruising comfortably – even-keeled – wind gently filling the sails. But I now appreciate more the exhilaration that comes with sailing fast and the sound of the gun at the end of a race that indicates victory.
Sure, the resurrection that we celebrate on Easter is the most magnificent example of rising up, but if we are to live our own lives fully, we must be willing at times to let go of smooth sailing, lend our weight to the heal of the boat, and even take the helm. We must risk the possibility of capsizing with the faith that we will be able to right our ship, again.
And those bunnies- they are still doing well, left for dead, it sems that they too are enjoying an Easter resurrection.