Resurrectio in Latin is a universal concept of coming spiritually or physically back to life after death. It is the central theme of the Christian Easter, which will be tomorrow this year. I don’t believe Jesus physically arose from the dead, but I do believe in resurrection both in the larger spiritual sense and in the everyday sense. Everyday, or little, resurrections are acts of will.
Two days ago my mother-in-law, along with several family members, took the ashes of my father-in-law to sea off the coast of southern California. My father-in-law was 86 when he died a couple of weeks ago. Twenty-two years ago, their daughter Diana, my wife of 23 years, died at age 43. It struck me this week that if I lived to my father-in-law’s age of 86, my life will have been divided equally between the years before and after my beloved wife’s death.
When Diana died, so did I. So did her parents and others. And so did our children: our daughter in college at the time, our high school son, and our three-year-old son. Since that dreadful moment of loss, we have lived on, as others have done following moments of spiritual death. Our lives are acts of resurrection. Each day, we will ourselves to come back to life.
“Faithfulness to the past can be a kind of death above ground,” wrote Jessamyn West, an Indiana Quaker and author of The Friendly Persuasion. “Writing of the past is a resurrection; the past then lives in your words and you are free.”
Life, for me and I suspect for many others, is a series of little resurrections. By writing this reflection today, Diana, and my father-in-law, live on. And in this little resurrection I also am free to live again.