This is a week about death and life.
It’s about the grave and resurrection.
It’s about re-animating what we had believed to be cold corpses.
This idea of resurrection has particular meaning for me this year.
A few years ago, I died.
I don’t mean that my heart stopped pumping blood through my arteries and veins or that the pathways in my brain shut down.
No, I died a different kind of death, a death out of the public eye. No one was there to mourn. No services. No flowers. The closest thing to an obituary was something I wrote down in my journal one night as I reflected on what my life had come to:
I don’t want to feel anymore.
I don’t want to be disappointed anymore.
I don’t want to want or to yearn anymore.
I want to be dead inside.
People who haven known me for a while know how significant those words are. How so far removed they are from who I am and have been since I was little. My whole life, I had dreamed of a great love. My heart has always been geared to burst out of my chest and spill over into everything I did, everyone I knew. I dreamed about it, thought about it, wrote about it, talked about it, sought after it and fought for it. I wanted passion and adventure in every aspect of my life.
But we’re led down strange roads sometimes. Rather than walking a path that led up the mountain toward the blue sky and clouds and breathless heights, I found myself wading through the lowland swamps of what would become the deepest, darkest valley I would ever encounter.
I was suddenly years into a relationship that turned everything I believed about love and life upside down.
Lower your expectations is what I heard over and over and over again. And so I did.
I lowered my aim from having a great love to having a good love.
But that wasn’t happening, either. Those expectations were still too high.
So I lowered it again from a good love to an okay love.
Still too high.
Over and over, my expectations dropped down the rungs until they were rock-bottom: I will survive this love. Even if this person doesn’t want to work on it, even if this person doesn’t want me, even if this person rejects me over and over and over again…I can survive it.
I went from fiercely declaring that I wanted a great love, a revolutionary love, to not wanting anything anymore. To put to death all of my desires. How far I had fallen. How shattered my dreams had become.
The only way I felt I could survive was to lay that dreamer in the grave and pour earth and rock over him until his cold body was completely covered.
That part of me died, and I left that dream for a great love and a great life to rot with me. I patted down the earth, I dusted off my hands, and I walked away feeling cold, like iron or ice.
Days passed. Months. Years.
The sun has passed over it hundreds of times. The moon has peeked at it with its pale gaze. Rain has come down and seeped past it. Snow has fallen and rested on top of it. Long grass has grown over it.
This week, though, something began to stir in the earth.
It was such a minute movement at first—a twitch, a tremble of the dirt.
But soon, the earth opened up, the grass parted, and light and air and hope rushed into the space only darkness had occupied.
God is resurrecting dreams for me this week.
It's been such a long night. It’s been such a deep grave. But I believe in a Jesus who destroys death.
I believe in a Jesus who reaches his hand into the earth, rips me from the mouth of darkness, and breathes air into my lungs.
I believe in a Jesus who resurrects dreams.
I believe he died and rose again.
I believe it because I’ve seen him do it with me once again.
Feature photo ©2013 Richard Browne | Flickr