Some thoughts on feelings, resurrection & what you missed in April
May! May! May!
April has been a little bit of a health struggle-bus month, but it’s also been a month of surprising tenderness and newness and somehow - at the same time - numbness for me.
Here’s what’s in store in this newsletter:
A thought I’m processing on flexible feelings
A thought I’m loving on resurrection
Some link love
A full recap & links to this month’s posts
🤔 A thought I’m processing [on flexible feelings]
I’ve noticed a tendency to want to feel ONE thing. In all of us. We don’t seem to easily tolerate a combo of emotions. We want to feel anger or empathy. We resist the partnership of grief and gratitude. We can feel happy or sad. We want clean and clear emotions - one or the other. We use emotions to crush each other instead of making space for the complexity of life reflected in our emotions.
Look. Life is complicated. Every situation has pros and cons - and doesn’t it make sense to have mixed emotions? This month I’ve felt a lot of happiness, and I’ve also felt a lot of numbness, and then irritation and sadness about the numbness. I feel disappointed about my health, and also incredibly obsessively in love with my sweet body’s attempts to keep me safe.
More and more I’m finding a healthiness in flexible and fluid emotions that shift and flow as much as the spaces and events around me shift and flow. None of them define me. None of them is “right” or “true.” They’re letting me know how I feel about whatever input I’m receiving at that moment.
They’re not sacred and they’re not sinful. They’re just feelings.
💕 A thought I’m loving [on resurrection]
This month brought me face to face with a message that Nadia Bolz-Weber shared at Rachel Held Evans funeral. And here’s an excerpt I’m loving:
Luke’s gospel tells us that Jesus had freed Mary Magdalene from demons and evil spirits. Which is why, while it was still dark, when Mary Magdalene stood weeping outside his tomb, she looked in, saw angels and was asked, Woman, why are you weeping, I wonder if maybe she was crying because to Jesus she wasn’t “that crazy lady” like she was to everyone else. To him, she was just Mary. And when Jesus said her name, Mary — it felt like a complete sentence. And now she wondered who would ever see her as whole, who would ever call her by her real name.
I think she was crying because having felt divine love in the presence of Jesus, she knew couldn’t go back to living without it…
And so while it was still dark, she went to his tomb thinking maybe the tomb was the end of the story.
As you may know, Rachel loved Mary Magdalene, as many of us do. Mary Mag, the apostle to the apostles, the first witness to the resurrection, the woman of valor whom Jesus told to go and tell the boys.
I started to wonder this week, “Why was Mary Magdalene chosen for this role?” See, I don’t think it was because she had followed the instructions for how to make herself worthy to witness the resurrection. And I don’t think it was because she fit the high priest’s description of an ideal preacher, and I don’t think it was because she had pure doctrine. But most importantly, I don’t think it was despite who she was; I think it was BECAUSE of who she was.
I think Mary was chosen because she was a woman from whom demons had fled. I think Mary was chosen, because she knew what it was like for God to move; not when the lilies are already out in church and the lights are on — but while it is still dark. Because unlike when the men looked in and saw only laundry, when Mary Magdalene looked in the tomb, SHE saw angels.
Mary Magdalene saw angels, because she was not unfamiliar with the darkness. She had the kind of night vision that only comes from seeing what God does while it’s still dark.
I do not know why this is God’s economy. That it is while we are still in despair. That it is while we are still grieving, while we are still sinners, while we are sure that nothing good will ever come. That it is when we are faced with the nothingness of death — that we are closest to resurrection.
That is while it is still dark that God does God’s most wondrous work.
🔗Some links I’m loving
The full sermon from the funeral mentioned above
A message I shared at church this month
A recipe I’m loving
I love this concept of a Sparkle List
Things to say to your kids at Bedtime
A prayer for holy week that I’ve got on rotation
📆 What you missed in April
Below are some links to what I’ve shared this month! (Please note that some of my messier thoughts and musings are behind a paywall. You can read more about why I do that here, and feel free to upgrade your subscription to access them.)
Problematic narratives in the church - kind of self-explanatory
Muddled days and pacing - long covid musings that might just apply to us all
Saturday comes before Sunday - some reflections on dark days before the light breaks through
Some thoughts on identity, acceptance, and what you missed in March
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