Almost Famous

How do you rejoice in resurrection when you're still reeling?

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"Daddy, I'm famous!" Gemma jumped into our old, gold minivan (affectionately named "Blanche") to announce the news.

Yesterday was Gemma's very last doctor's appointment in the long saga of her recovery from a harrowing case of bacterial meningitis. She recently received a clean bill of health from the Infectious Disease team (praise God!) and this was the final check-in with her Ear-Nose-Throat surgeon to be sure her sinuses are all clear.

And they are!

But during the appointment, Gemma's doctor mentioned something that brought everything rushing back into perspective again. Namely, he informed us that her case was so serious, so life-threatening, and so incredibly rare, that it's going to be published. 

Gemma asked what this meant, of course, and after getting a kid-friendly explanation from the surgeon concluded that she is going to be famous now!

Famous? Well, almost. Because her mom and I were just brought back to the heaviness, the intensity, the trauma of it all. Stuff like this happens so fast and then ends so fast that it's easy to at least partially bury it. Sometimes it feels like you have to bury it just in order to function with all the busyness of everyday life.

But then it comes bubbling up and rushing back, whether you like it or not. And sometimes it gets published in a medical journal and permanently preserved for posterity.

This has me thinking more deeply about how we continue to live in gratitude for the resurrection that has come to our family, while still working to accept the fear and sadness of this sickness and the effect it has had on us at the deepest level. Because it really happened, and it was really serious. It permanently changed us.

In other words, how do we continue to lean into the reality of it and not slip into denial - while still singing those praise songs of rejoicing and thanksgiving?

Perhaps the Christian season we are in sheds some light. We are located, right now, in that liminal space between Easter and Pentecost, between the witnessing of resurrection and the arrival of the Spirit. True, we don't celebrate Ascension until May, but the ultimate promise - of the abiding presence of Christ by the Spirit - has not yet arrived.

We are in that space between - rejoicing at resurrection, but still working to accept what has happened, still waiting to receive the promise of full restoration. 

And we believe it will come. We believe it with all that we are, at the deepest core of our being. But we are waiting for that Pentecost promise, for the next steps for our family, healthy and sustaining and full of life and power and peace, to appear before us. 

How about you? Are you in a similar space between? If so, I'd love to hear about it in the comments :).

Zach Hoag

Zach Hoag, 851 Woods Hollow Road, Westford, VT, 05494

Zach Hoag is an author, preacher, and creator from New England. He's also the author of The Light is Winning: Why Religion Just Might Bring Us Back to Life.