We sat on the bed, strained throats fighting to articulate sense. Easter was a few days past, and I halfheartedly ate the mini gourmet chocolate bunny; it tasted good but it made no difference at all.
I told him something was missing, something I couldn’t place but that I needed desperately to have, something that mattered to the whole of me and to my being whole. I folded the gold wrapper, not into my quirky trademark perfect, tiny square, but back into the form of the bunny, now two-dimensional, empty.
Our conversation careened us on a trajectory that terrified us both, tears and desperation mixed with confusion and rage, and I wondered whether it was God I was missing because the hole felt about that gaping big. But I had felt it before, this God-too-far ache, and I knew that it wasn’t His presence I missed this time, yet I felt sure He was my only chance at supplying this elusive life-or-death need.
I looked at the flat bunny, poorly reconstructed in my hand, and I wondered to myself with mournful fury, Where is the resurrection power now?
I was pressed by commitment to put myself somehow together, to reprieve us of the hard and horrible talk for a time, to gather with fellow musicians and practice a worship service I felt incapable of leading with joy. I made it only just through the door.
One of the dear ones, he saw me. He asked if I was okay. And I just couldn’t, not one moment more, bear any semblance of it. He asked if I wanted to talk, and we invited another friend too. And practice was suspended, the other musicians patient with worry, as the three of us gathered at a table that usually hosted muffins and happy conversation.
I poured out grief and fear and desperation, honest, messy truth, unchecked by propriety. These were not friends church culture would prefer I share my darkest heart with; they were men, and I was my most vulnerable. But to me, they were brothers. And if you cannot both laugh and cry with your family, then I don’t know the purpose of it at all.
They mostly listened, and they offered wisdom in small and gracious doses. One reminded me that the burden did not rest on me but on Him who takes all burdens, not just the sins of Good Friday. The other spoke my language, words too raw and real for tidy church foyers, blessing me permission to feel and give voice to the muck. And when we rejoined our waiting worship team, my brothers led prayer to cover me, and I could sing, even with some joy.
Still, the next night found me a zombie, hearing the Word but unable to interact with it; staring, not seeing; breathing but barely alive. It was depression in its realest, most ugly form, and I was sunk beneath it. The study concluded and most our group left, but the ones who were meant to remained.
One took my children and brought them home for bed because she loves them as she loves their mother. Two others took my husband outside, to breathe the air and to make space for his confusion and sorrow.
A gentle hand met my hunched back, smoothed peace over tension til my tears were quaked out. And this dear one, a sister, so different yet proved so alike, she listened without judgment to the ways I’d failed to fill in my desperately missing piece. She confided, and she supported, and she fed me with hummus and laughter.
Then we gathered back together, friends who study scripture and on this night had really lived it. We talked about little nothings, a relief from oppressive sadness, passing around a bag of mini chocolate peanut butter eggs.
And I folded my wrappers into perfect, tiny squares.