Rise Up

I fell asleep to wailing. Deep, agonized, pain-trying-to-leave-the-body sobs. Rhythmic singing interrupted the tormented weeping, sending a lament to God or a plea to her sister to rise up again. The melody suddenly leapt into another gut-wrenching cry.

I lay on the other side of the wall, listening but trying not to and being pulled back as the sounds escalated once more. The churning in my stomach this 2 a.m. was not from my usual poor health; instead, it was the God how could you?, the world why would you?, the how on earth will things ever be ok again? battling each other in my mind, wrestling each other all the way down until the trio nestled into my gut.

If God exists at all, He can’t possibly be good… “AHHHHHHH!” As the first tear snuck down my cheek at the agony of my 16-year-old friend, the first prayer began to take shape. God if you aren’t there at all, we will never make it to the other side of this.

* * *

Sunlight crept through the two broken blinds, waking me to Good Friday. I don’t even remember falling asleep last night, but somehow the darkness has gone and left behind the nightmare. But today, pockets of people across the world are lamenting death, lamenting darkness and nightmares and despair, with us.

Two thousands years ago today my Jesus was brutally murdered. Four days ago today my 18-year-old friend was brutally murdered. On this weekend, I know one was raised up again and my heart keeps wishing the other would be raised up too. Yet another ironic paradox of life and death; this time I am so not finding comfort in the two existing side by side.

But the big celebration is coming. Sunday is the big day of remembering that, hey, death doesn’t win forever. Hey, Jesus overcame death. Hey, all our hope is wrapped up in the fact that He did rise up again.

The last thing on earth I feel like doing on Sunday is putting on a pastel dress and singing joyful songs about the resurrection. This year Easter means a little bit more of sitting silently in pajamas beside Daizsa’s coach and mentor, Daizsa’s sister, and Daizsa’s best friend. Perhaps part of the beauty of the resurrection, the beauty of the rising up, the beauty of being alive at all, is our ability to first feel deeply those feelings that don’t naturally glisten with hope.

Today those feelings mean that mourning clings to every particle in my home, every emotion in my being and the beings of those who love Daizsa most. And today, I don’t have a “big, happy, wrap-up-the-blog-with-a-hopeful-thought-or-quote” ready for you. Instead, I leave you with the rise and falls of life, that sometimes the falls seem a little more permanent than the risings. And today, the only thing I know how to do with the falls is to sit, beside those also overwhelmed by the fact that we fall, and hope that somewhere along the way we can find some strength to rise up again.

* * *

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To sweet Daizsa, thanks for teaching me the beauty of feeling deeply, loving relentlessly, and laughing contagiously despite how hard life tries to kick us down. All your spirit ever knew how to do was rise up again.

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