The story behind the advent of Easter fascinates me.
I was raised Southern Baptist, so am familiar with the religious accounting of the death and resurrection of Jesus. Countless people over the centuries have celebrated this parable or truth as the greatest spiritual sacrifice ever made to ensure the salvation of humanity. And it has absolutely nothing to do with chocolate bunnies and Cadbury Creme Eggs.
However, at the risk of (hopefully not) offending the evangelical among us, I am drawn to this story for its moral analogy and supernatural qualities only.
The supernatural aspect of dying and then rising days later, fascinates me to no end. I firmly believe that our energy or soul, lives on after our physical bodies are gone. (I hold onto that idea too to comfort myself that I will be with my husband again.) But I also love all things macabre, and not to be flippant, have watched zombie and vampire movies until my eyes are bleary and red and have been a huge fan of Bram Stoker’s Dracula, since I was a preteen (and reread it many times since). Now, I am not comparing Jesus to a vampire (well…) but when you think about it, we need to suspend a bit of reality if we are going to buy into a story of resurrection for atonement.
“Oh, my dear, if you only knew how strange is the matter regarding which I am here, it is you who would laugh. I have learned not to think little of any one’s belief, no matter how strange it may be. I have tried to keep an open mind, and it is not the ordinary things of life that could close it, but the strange things, the extraordinary things, the things that make one doubt if they be mad or sane.” Bram Stoker, Dracula
The resurrection theme of sacrificing a life for the greater good resonates in other notable works of literature – even children’s stories. “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe” by C.S. Lewis is a perfect example. Asian the lion (Jesus?) sacrifices his life to the White Witch (man’s sins?) in a pivotal moment in the storyline. Granted, I hate that part and the thought of any animal dying, even in a mythical land like Narnia, but there you go.
But this theme of atonement is one I believe most of us identify with. We all in some way, struggle to do the right thing, and make personal sacrifices small and large for the greater good of others or for those we hold dear.
And as far as resurrection goes, I’ve had the dream more than once since James died, that he has come back to me. The relief I feel is palpable. I only lightly question where he’s been and how this is possible in my dream state, since I don’t want to break the magic and chance losing him all over again. But then reality crowds back in the next morning and I’m left with eyelids as salt-encrusted as the rim of a margarita glass.