As of this week, I believe in resurrection from the dead. I’ve affirmed that all my life in the Apostle’s Creed: “I believe in…the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting.” This week, I didn’t merely believe in resurrection; I experienced it.
Yesterday, I got over my cold. For a week couldn’t breathe, couldn’t taste food (of course, that didn’t stop me from eating!), and my eyes looked like weeping Falcons fans during overtime. On the phone, I became Darth Vader, my voice an octave lower than usual. That part didn’t annoy me.
Slowly, last week, I rose from the walking dead and became human again. Today I’m walking around almost giggly with the joy of simply feeling healthy. “He is alive! He is alive! He is alive!”—the contemporary Easter song became about me!
Shall I write about how God was with me as I walked through the valley of snot? My cup did not runneth over; that was my nose. I was as distant from God as I was distant from life, existing in my own germ-laden bubble.
But today—today the world is a beautiful place. The world is a beautiful place, mid-February temps in the 70’s and blue, cloudless sky. God and I are becoming friends again. I am allowed to hug my wife and shake hands with friends. The Kleenex box is back in storage. Life is good. And all of the above is sublimely sweet.
According to the gospel, the only path that leads to life gets there via death. Not by achievement or virtue or even by being intensely spiritual. We have to experience loss. And the world will provide plenty of losses, we don’t have to look for them. The only way to rise up is by falling down.
A lot of “deaths” are recognizable: loss of a job, loss of a parent, or the Super Bowl (I’m still not over it.), a serious illness or accident, divorce. You’ve truly died when you realize you can’t pull yourself out of the pit by your own effort. Resurrection is always, and only, a gift.
Can we count a little thing like a cold as death-resurrection? I wouldn’t classify my recovery as a miraculous cure, made possible only by divine intervention. But I would like to believe that God is as involved in little things as in huge events. Maybe I can use the little losses as opportunities to practice death and resurrection, so that when the big deaths hit, I’ll face them with a trust seasoned by experience.
Meanwhile, every time I hear a muffled “Achoo!”, I will respond with a sincere “Bless you!” And mean it.