My life is in upheaval. My world is a carnival funhouse, and I struggle to navigate my way through the path of distorted mirrors and uncomfortable darkness. I've been placed in a snow globe, vigorously shaken; and as soon as the hard, white plastic pieces of faux snow fall to the ground, my life is shaken again. As I struggle, Easter and the promise of rebirth, renewal and redemption linger in the background taunting me.
Until recently, I've always relished the Easter holiday. As a lost, broken child, Easter healed me and reminded me of the importance of forgiveness and the promise of rebirth - a new life within my grasp. In the darkest times, I learned to close my eyes, sift through my pain and anger and let go.
Forgiveness doesn't mean forgetting the harm, betrayal and hurt others have caused nor does it mean that I allow it to continue or reconcile with the individual. It means filtering out the negativity and resentment, taking back control of my feelings, actions and power. It is a conscious decision to embark on an emotional journey and grow.
However this Easter, I struggle.
My faith is being tested. Forgiveness, even my willingness to begin the process towards forgiveness, seems to elude me. My pain is too new, too raw, too jagged. How can I possibly celebrate, seek His light and begin anew in such a time of personal darkness, pain and uncertainty?
I hear the excited voices of my children in the next room as I write this, and for a moment, my vision is clear. My heart clenches as the truth reveals itself to me: As a mother and a role model, how can I deny them the gift of the Easter message?
People will hurt you. They will abandon you when you need them most. They will lie to you, lie about you, and cut you so deeply and so quickly that it leaves you breathless. But, you will hurt others, too. I am guilty of this same hurt. If I cannot forgive others, how can I ask for forgiveness in return? If I do not forgive others, am I prepared to carry around this toxic burden of anger, hurt and sadness?
We are all fallible, capable of mistakes, betrayal and inflicting pain. That imperfection, that ability to wound others and make mistakes is what ultimately connects us. Instead of hiding my pain, my mistakes, I need to examine them, learn from them, and continue to move forward.
I have been so focused on my own pain and loss these last couple of months that I have stopped moving forward. My life has become static. While I can't change what others are choosing to do, I can take back control of my life.
Perhaps my struggle, my pain is exactly what I need during this Easter season. Perhaps it is through this tumultuous life-altering transition, I can choose to be a positive example and role model for my children. Instead of wallowing in my own pain and grief, I can refocus on the Easter message and share it with them in a more meaningful way, through my example.
It is time I remind myself that while I am in pain, I have a greater responsibility towards my children. I will not raise future victims. I will raise survivors. I will begin anew. I will be courageous and start my journey to forgiveness. I will celebrate Easter.