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Parker J. Palmer

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An Upside-Down Easter Meditation

Posted: 03/29/2013 10:08 am

Years ago, I stumbled upon a little book by Julia Esquivel, the Guatemalan poet and social justice activist, titled "Threatened with Resurrection." Those few words had a huge impact on me.

I'd been taught that death is the great threat and resurrection the great hope. But at the time I found Esquivel's book, I was experiencing the death-in-life called depression. Her title jarred me into the hard realization that figurative forms of death sometimes feel comforting -- while resurrection, or the hope of new life, feels threatening.

Why? Because death-in-life can bring us a perverse sense of relief. When I was depressed, nobody expected anything of me, nor did I expect anything of myself. I was exempt from life's demands and risks. But if I were to find new life, who knows what daunting tasks I might be required to take on?

Sometimes we choose death-in-life (as in compulsive overactivity, unhealthy relationships, non-stop judgmentalism aimed at self or others, work that compromises our integrity, substance abuse, pervasive cynicism, etc.) because we're afraid of the challenges that might come if we embraced resurrection-in-life.

Every religious tradition is rooted in mysteries I don't pretend to understand, including claims about what happens after we die. But this I know for sure: as long as we're alive, choosing resurrection is always worth the risk. I'm grateful for the people and experiences that continue to help me to embrace "the threat of resurrection."

My Easter wish for everyone is the ability to say "YES!" to life. Even when life challenges us, it's a gift beyond all measure...

 
 
 
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