Easter Sunday has been the culmination of a long week for us.
Or rather… it has been the beginning of a brand new week, when we were able to finally put LAST WEEK behind us and look forward with hope.
Writing about REAL subjects is always hard for me, which is why the pink diary with the lock (and the key that was the size of an ant) only got four pages filled out when I owned it in the 4th grade. I know that I’m better suited to writing the dialogue for short skits on Saturday Night Live than I am for writing dramatic scenes for an emotionally-moving Hallmark movie. I can never seem to get all the real words… the serious words… out of my head, through my fingers and the keyboard, and onto the computer screen, yet it takes very little effort for me to type nine hundred words telling you about how the number one thing taught in any high school freshman English class is, “Start with a great introductory sentence and paragraph.”
It’s why I never applied for a job as the speech writer for major political candidates.
(That and the fact that I never did like pantyhose, which I knew I’d have to wear on a daily basis, year round, if I worked in Washington.)
(Pantyhose is always going to be a deal breaker.)
Last week, my dad’s doctor found a lump in his bladder.
In the course of five days, my dad had a CT scan, which lit that lump up brightly, so that it shouted at the world, “I am here.” We were told by the doctor, “Some of these things turn out to be benign. And… some of them don’t.”
My dad had surgery on Thursday morning, and we were still optimistic that all of our prayers of, “Please, Jesus… LET THIS BE NOTHING AT ALL,” would be heard by our God and granted by Him, because cancer is something awful that happens to people you don’t know very well.
Sometimes God says, “No.”
After surgery, my dad’s doctor said, “I can’t predict the future, but if I had to guess, I would say that this tumor isn’t a very good one.”
The biopsy reports came back on Good Friday. The verdict was “high-grade cancer.” I don’t know about you, but the words “high-grade cancer” can land on you like a bull flipping over at the rodeo. It knocks the breath out of you, while you’re still laying in the dirt, wondering if that bull is going to charge again, and WHERE ON EARTH ARE THE CLOWNS TO TURN THIS INTO A LAUGHING MATTER AND GET US TO THE SAFETY OF THE METAL FENCE?
The good news — if there is, in fact, any good news when it comes to cancer — is that the cancer cells of my dad’s tumor had not gone into the lining of the bladder. The tumor, which was bigger than a golf ball, was contained, and the doctor was confident that he got it all out.
That he got it all.
The tumor was out.
It was all out.
My dad could say that he’d HAD cancer. And HAD is so much better than HAS.
And yet… what if there was a single cancerous cell left behind after surgery? What then?
I spent half of Good Friday sobbing in grief and yelling out to Jesus that this wasn’t the way it was supposed to go!
(Yes. I sort of yelled at Jesus, but I think He has already forgiven me for that dramatic display of WHAT THE HECK, JESUS?!)
It wasn’t the way it was supposed to go at all, because it was MY daddy we were talking about.
Which… when you think about it… is probably exactly what Jesus’ disciples did on Good Friday so many years ago.
My friend, Mary, posted a little note on her Facebook page on Saturday that simply said, “I was thinking that today the disciples thought everything was lost and their hope was gone because they didn’t know what God had planned for tomorrow. How many times do I feel lost and give up hope because I don’t know what God has planned for tomorrow? I need to work on trusting that God has a plan for my tomorrows, too.”
On Good Friday, the disciples were stunned that their Messiah, who was supposed to be setting up a kingdom to reign over, was being beaten and nailed to a cross.
On Saturday, their grief must’ve consumed them, because THAT WASN’T THE WAY IT WAS SUPPOSED TO GO. Jesus was supposed to have a throne and a kingdom, and they were going to be great in his kingdom and spend the remainder of their lives watching Him perform miracles.
The total shock of Friday’s suffering and agony and horror became grief and sadness on Saturday, because Jesus was gone.
And it just wasn’t the way it was supposed to go at all.
But, just like my friend Mary stated so eloquently, the disciples had no idea what God had planned for Sunday. They had no New Testament to pick up, so that they could read the rest of the story and nod at one another and say, “Oh… good! This has a happy ending.” As far as they were concerned, the one who healed others and told the dead to breathe was dead Himself.
I’m pretty certain that’s how I live my life… sort of stuck in the Saturday between the pain of Good Friday and the miraculous excitement of Sunday. I spend so much time looking only at what I know and what I see, and very little time actually trusting that God has something planned for the following day that is going to be for my good.
And so that’s my post on Easter this year, people.
I don’t know what’s in store for my future, but I know that God only works for my good; it’s hard to believe sometimes, but I keep repeating it to myself. I love my dad with a full heart… I love that man to pieces, just as I love my mom and the rest of our family. And now I’m going to put the agony of Friday’s revelation behind me… and the sorrow and shocking grief of Saturday behind me… and I’m going to look toward what God has in store for me on Sunday.
Because Easter Sunday is the day for miracles. It’s the day for shouting in excitement, as our sorrows turn to utter joy. It’s the day for proclaiming, “That wasn’t the way it was supposed to go… but look at what has happened because it DID go that way!”
He has risen, indeed.
Happy Easter, y’all.