Happy Easter. This is the last in my series of posts on Monica A. Coleman’s Not Alone. If you’ve been reading along through Lent with this series of posts – You made it! I made it! Death doesn’t have the final word. there’s an eternal hope in the reality that love wins, light wins. There will be ups and downs again. There will be hellish darknesses again, but today there is light or least the celebration of the reality light is possible and life returns.
Unitarian Universalists deal with this question every Easter, as do most progressive, open-minded people of faith: Is resurrection real? Do you believe in a bodily resurrection? In Unitarian Universalist circles there will always be someone who either seriously or jokingly talks about Jesus the Zombie as if reanimation of dead tissue is the only thing we need to discuss at Easter. This, as Monica A. Coleman notes, misses the point. The reality and the point she makes so well in what amounts to an Easter homily in the epilogue of this book is:
Yes, resurrection does matter— and this is why: For those of us who live regularly or periodically with the threat of death, life matters. A lot.
The reality for people living with depression is things get so dark that literally, physically dying seems a better option than going on. Many of us deal with the very real demon of suicidal thinking. Depression is about, if it is “about” anything, the reality of dying to one’s self – really losing a part or parts of yourself over and over – and then somehow finding a way to come back. Resurrection is not about coming back to life, it is about coming into a new life.
Sometimes I’ve lost a part of me that I had never chosen to lose— or at least not so painfully. Other times, I’ve shirked a childhood habit, a disillusion, or an unhealthy crutch. I acknowledge that even if good came from it, it did not feel good. And I acknowledge that wherever I am, whoever I am now is loved by God and hence worthy of being loved and accepted by me. – Coleman, Monica A. (2012-08-24). Not Alone: Reflections on Faith and Depression (p. 179). Inner Prizes, Inc.. Kindle Edition.
Because people living with depression live most of our lives in Lent, Easter is important. Resurrection is important.
I am one, and I know others, who live many everyday moments closer to death than most people around us might imagine. The possibility of death is not far away. This is no philosophical lament about the finitude implicit in human mortality. Rather, it is the sometimes frightening and disturbingly ordinary texture of our lives. That death looms near is sometimes a product of our social and economic and geographical and age-related realities. We see loved ones and strangers around us transitioning both peacefully or with great resistance to the space beyond life. Other times, the threat of death is an unfortunate-though-known consequence of the decisions that we make as we take stances for justice, love, inclusion, humanity, and earth. And there are the instances when the threat of death comes from within. When death can seem a welcome respite from the weariness of trying to subsist in the midst of desperation When the loss of community, family, and sense of self comes faster and easier than the tenacity to hold onto and build community, family, and soul. Yes, I’m talking about suicide here…And even if our God is not personal or loving, or transcendent or speaking to us, something outside of us and greater than us and yet deeply within us moves us individually and communally to cling to the life side of the cliff…Even for a minister and scholar and questioning person of faith like myself, resurrection matters. Resurrection is everything.Coleman, Monica A. (2012-08-24). Not Alone: Reflections on Faith and Depression . Inner Prizes, Inc.. Kindle Edition.
Amen, Rev. Coleman, and thank you. Happy Easter to you and to everyone and anyone that has read this series of posts. You are not alone.