when easter’s hard.

kathyescobar church stuff, faith shifts, healing 77 Comments

blog when easter is hardmost of you already all know that i love easter because i’m always rambling about it. i’m definitely not alone on this one. it’s the most popular christian holiday & many more people-who-don’t-identify-with-the-Jesusy-part-of-easter love it, too, with all its chocolate & springtime & fun.

we already celebrated last night at the refuge (we get resurrection sunday about 12 hours earlier than everyone else because we gather on saturday nights). it was sweet & wild & fun, with one of my favorite songs ever and lovely stories of resurrection.

but these days i know more & more people who struggle with easter. in fact, they dread it. it’s become a sad day. a weird day. a disorienting day. a day where the reality of everything they’ve lost when it comes to faith & church is most evident.

today i wanted to honor the reality that while facebook & twitter & churches are abuzz with “he is risen!” and “hallelujahs!”, there are a lot of people who aren’t feeling it today.

and they’re not the people who are happily telling stories about the easter bunny, not at all concerned about going to church no matter how many times their neighbors invite them on christmas & easter. for those friends, they are free from the religious parts of easter.

rather, these current & sometimes-calling-themselves-former christians have spent countless years & hours & heart & time & energy investing in the churches they were part of. they were true believers, dedicated leaders, faithful followers. they were people who knew the Bible inside and out and loved God and people with their whole heart.  they were the first ones there every easter sunday.

this is a group that are often forgotten on this day–ex-church-folks who long for the connection & community & hope that easter offers but can’t bring themselves to walk into any of them this year. they’re what my friend & compatriot in walking wounded: hope for those hurt by church, phyllis mathis, calls “allergic” to church, far beyond just not liking it.

it would be easy to dismiss them, and say “well, they just need to get over it, it’s just one hour” or “we can’t let them ruin our fun” without acknowledging that it really stinks when the luster of easter erodes and you find yourself out on the fringes of everything that once was familiar.

when the thought of walking into a church makes you feel a little sick.

when all of the words to the songs seem silly.

when you’re not sure what you believe about a lot of things you used to believe and so what’s easter supposed to mean then?

when the predictability of the sermons & the messages & the whole kit-and-kaboodle could potentially cause you to jump out of your seat and start screaming.

when nothing related to “church” feels safe or good right now.

i just wanted to say something out loud about it this easter instead of ignore it.

to remind my friends that even though i don’t know this exact feeling because i have my crazy community that is still a safe spot to celebrate easter, i hurt with you for the loss.

to acknowledge that it’s real and not crazy.

to say out loud that i really wish there were better options to hold a sacred space for this season of the spiritual journey that felt familiar enough.

to honor that it really sucks when the system hijacked so much of the good stuff and holds it hostage.

i am well aware that it’s never a great idea to write about something that i haven’t also experienced myself. but i also don’t want to be one of those people who just keeps walking past, so busy in my own little world that i don’t stop to acknowledge my brothers-and-sisters-who-have-lost-so-much.

most of all, my hope is that if you are hurting & lost this easter, that somehow, some way, some slivers of Hope & Resurrection come peeking through this year and you feel less alone.

peace & love from colorado.