In 2006, Easter fell on April 16. It’s a date I’ll never forget because, after going to church and hosting a brunch for my friends, I decided to do laundry.
As my whites soaked in the washing machine, I sat at the dining room table writing on my laptop, finishing an assignment for the journalism degree I was earning.
I felt something wet on my white t-shirt.
It was raining that night, so I looked up to see if there was a watermark on the ceiling, but there was nothing.
Then I looked down at my shirt and saw an expanding rust-colored circle on the right side of my white shirt.
I ran to the bathroom, lifted my shirt, and saw blood trickling out of my right nipple.
The room started spinning, I couldn’t catch my breath. I knew in a split second what it would take doctors a mammogram, an ultrasound and a biopsy to confirm: I had breast cancer.
I can’t celebrate Easter without remembering that day. The celebration of Jesus’ resurrection in the morning. The realization that I was dying of cancer that night.
I’m exceptionally blessed to be writing about that Sunday eleven years later.
The road from there to here was rocky. It took every ounce of my being to get through the five surgeries, eight rounds of chemo, thirty sessions of radiation, five I.V. antibiotics, four infusions of Herceptin, three years of Zometa infusions and nightly doses of Arimidex that got me to where I am today.
A few years after the Easter Sunday when I knew I had cancer, I re-read the story of Jesus’ crucifixion with new eyes, and I realized that for the six hours Jesus was hanging on the cross, he hung for three hours in the light…and then he hung for three hours in the dark.
The whole time Jesus was on the cross, he was redeeming us, redeeming our stories, redeeming our pain.
For half the time, he redeemed the light in us, and for half the time, Jesus redeemed the darkness in us.
The morning after Easter, as we all re-enter our lives, our stories, our victories and our pain, let’s remember that Jesus does redeem the goodness, the bright spots, the victories, the light in us.
And Jesus equally redeems our weaknesses, our faults, our pain, our darkness.
Yes, Easter reminds us, Jesus redeems us and brings us to the Light.
And the morning after Easter reminds us, Jesus sits with us as he redeems our darkness, too.