Easter is almost here! As with most holidays and celebrations, it is festive and joyful, but it can also be a time of high stress, filled with its own expectations and demands.
We may experience stress, anxiety and depression triggered by gathering, preparing meals, hosting family and friends, financial strains, or the loneliness of not having loved ones by your side.
Jesus’ experiences of Palm Sunday with his entry into Jerusalem on a donkey, his cleansing of the Temple, his anointing by Mary, the Last Supper with his disciples, Jesus’ agony in the Garden of Gethsemane, his betrayal, his arrest, the trials he faced leading to his crucifixion, and crying out, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” (My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Mark 15:34) and finally his death on the Friday, fall under the name “the Passion narratives”.
Passion in Latin means, to suffer, to endure, to bear. Often, we are called to bear our sufferings as Christ did, and for many who face health concerns, mental health issues and illness, this can be overwhelming. Indeed, we too can feel forsaken and abandoned.
"In the time of healing, we make use of the help available through our churches, communities, and wellness practitioners to help us along on our journey"
At times in our suffering, we are not given space to cry out that we feel abandoned by God or our loved ones, but Jesus did so with courage. The picture we are pressured into painting is that we are okay and have it all handled. The Christ who cries out is too messy and vulnerable! Maybe we learn from that Christ, that when we suffer it’s okay to be vulnerable, to cry out, even in frustration at God. Being intentional to care for ourselves and each other means that we acknowledge our pain and shame. We lament and vent instead of denying it.
Our journey does not end there, as the Easter story continues to the pinnacle of truth on Sunday morning, the resurrection of Christ, which presents us with hope and new life. Our sufferings can be eased. However, for those of us who experience unwellness in body, mind, and spirit we know that it may not always pass or be healed completely. It is important to note that in the Easter story Jesus is indeed risen, he is alive, yet he still bore the scars (Luke 24:39-40, John 20:27).
A reminder that we too have wounds and scars that we bear. And in the time of healing, we make use of the help available through our churches, communities, and wellness practitioners to help us along on our journey of shalom, salaam, vrede, khotso of wellness.
Tips for Wellness during Easter:
- Practice traditions that are helpful and life-giving for you.
- Be aware and take care of your need for rest, relaxation,
hydration, and healthy foods.
- Find joy and gratitude in your experiences.
- Acknowledge unresolved pain and hurt.
- Make meaningful connections with others.
- Set realistic boundaries.
- Reach out when you need help
Merrishia Singh-Naicker is a relationship and family therapist and pastor.
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