|Happy Easter! Happy Easter! Happy Easter! Just writing those words makes me smile.
Easter is all about rising and resurrection, as I mentioned last week. That makes me smile this morning as well. Rising isn’t easy, but it is aspirational. Each of us will be called to rise up throughout our lives, and how we answer that call will say a lot about who we are and who we want to be.
There will be times when we’ll be called to rise above certain situations, certain experiences, and certain people and the way they treat us. The good news is that each of us has an inner fortitude that will be there for us when we need it.
Last Sunday, we bore witness to Tiger Woods rising up from years of disappointment, heartache and pain to win the 2019 Masters Tournament at Augusta National. Amidst his darkest moments, Tiger put his head down, stayed the course, and silenced the naysayers (of which there were plenty) as he worked his way back up.
Those kind of human triumph stories are all around us. There are stories of people rising up from tragedy. Stories of people rising up from a handicap or health challenge. Stories of people rising up from a loss. The list goes on. They may not get the same attention as a Tiger Woods comeback, but they really are everywhere.
I’m endlessly inspired by stories like these because they bring me hope and motivate me to keep striving and trying and growing. I’m also inspired by the voices of inspirational thinkers like Brené Brown, Angie Johnston, Dan Siegel, Dani Shapiro and Rabbi Steve Leder, who we share with you in this morning’s Sunday Paper. Their stories are also all about encouraging you to step into the arena, get vulnerable, learn who you truly are, and believe in yourself enough to move forward.
At some point, all of us will experience a resurrection in our lives. We’ll get knocked down, have to rewrite our narrative, and have to rise up and make that new story work for us.
Easter is about the power of resurrection and the story of Jesus Christ, but it can also be about the power of the comeback in all of our lives. It can be about the resurrection of churches, of careers, of broken lives, or of anything that knocks us down and spits us out.
This week, I was really moved by everyone who rose up to help Notre Dame after the horrific fire. I was also moved by those who rose up to support the struggling black churches in our country that were destroyed by arson. I mean, wow. Both of these news stories are about institutions suffering a blow, but they will resurrect themselves and rise again with the help of other people.
Another story that really touched me this week was that of Bailey Jean Matheson, who died this month at age 35 after battling cancer. Before passing, Bailey carefully wrote her own obituary and shared a powerful message reminding us all to “live a little.”
Her letter blew me away and reminded me not to take one day for granted or spoil the moment we have right here, right now. It also reminded me to rise above all the stupid stuff that I complain about. On this Easter morning, my heart goes out to Bailey’s parents. I simply cannot imagine losing my only child. That’s probably the toughest thing there is to rise above. May we hold them and others like them in our collective prayers.
I recently met a life coach named Renee who explained to me the power of focus. She told me that focusing on the positive and on what’s possible will help you in every other area of your life. So now that Lent is over, commit yourself to a new goal: focus on rising in your own life. Focus on rising above hurt, rising above a complicated family situation, rising above whatever place you find yourself in this very moment.
Don’t go down a rabbit hole and put all your energy into the Mueller report or the divisiveness in Washington D.C. Instead, focus yourself forward. Focus yourself on how you want to move humanity forward. Focus on where you want to be. Put your energy there.
That’s what I’m planning to do from this day forward. And you know what? I already feel lighter.