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Easter is a holy day for me, but it’s no longer the one-dimensional day of victory it once was.

There was a time when Easter was mostly a party for me—a reason for a new dress, new tights, and (when I was young and fancy-free) a new hat. It was well-rehearsed music and bright lights and white flowers at church.

Some of my Easters are still some of those things some of the time. But less so. And Easter is no longer ever just those things.

For many years, I believed that, metaphorically, pain would arrive on Good Friday and be gone by Sunday, thank you, hallelujah, amen.

And since we already know the Sunday part, why bother mourning the Friday mess? Just skip right to the victory dance.

But this narrative fell apart for me once I became familiar with suffering that could not – would not – be skipped over, in my own life, in my neighbors’, and in the world at large.

As I’ve come to understand the complexity of life, I’ve also – mercifully – found that Easter can hold all of what I’m carrying. It doesn’t demand jubilation. It meets me where I am.

And where I am this year is a murky labyrinth of virus-tainted unknowns. I’m holding the promise of new life with the weight of the current chaos.

And I’m believing Easter has space for it all.

Because if Easter is about hope, then it must also be about grief. After all, a person who isn’t grieving something, doesn’t much need hope.

If Easter is about faith, then perhaps it’s also about confusion. Because can we really claim faith if we think we already know the plan?

And if Easter is about joy, then it’s probably also about despair, anger, frustration, sadness, and loneliness. Because to feel your deepest joys, you must open your heart to all the rest of it too. Sometimes all at once.


These days, when I read the Easter story in the biblical texts, I see less jubilation and certainty, and more confusion, grief, doubt, frustration, and awe. For me, that is truly affirming.

So may your Easter be blessed and spacious, friends. May it hold whatever you’re carrying. And may new life take root for you, no matter how long your Friday lasts.

1 Comment

  • Jonathan

    Julie, thank you, as always, for the words needed to make sense of the day—and the days ahead. You so get to the heart of things.


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