Most Rev. Dianne Sullivan
What does it mean to live a resurrected life? “Resurrected” as Christians understand it’s meaning, is living a restored life; raised from the dead; full of life.
To live a “resurrected” life has at it’s core the idea of being restored, coming alive again, being raised up, revived and awakened. There’s a sense of hope and undeniable faith that in the end everything will be ok.
“You may not always have a comfortable life and you will not always be able to solve all of the world’s problems at once but don’t ever underestimate the importance you can have because history has shown us that courage can be contagious and hope can take on a life of its own.” Michelle Obama
I recently read an article that offered a nighttime ritual that touched me deeply.
As we crawl into bed and are about to enter that subliminal space of sleep, we review the day and who we have been that day. Without judgment or criticism we look at ourselves and offer blessings. And then we look towards tomorrow and offer blessings to who it is we will be. Who we will be tomorrow rests on the shoulders of today. Drift off and watch the sweetness of dreams that unfold.
How do we live a resurrected life from one day to the next? What would that look like? What would we be feeling? How would we act? What would we be saying? How would we live if we weren’t afraid of anything? What does hope look like? How does it conquer darkness?
There is the powerful story of Yu Xukang, a single father who lives in the Sichuan Province in China, who would do just about anything to give his son with disabilities every opportunity in the world.
Everyday this father walks 9 miles total with his son, who has physical disabilities, on his back to his son’s school so that his son might get an education. The 12-year-old has a disorder that has caused his arms and legs to become twisted and his back to be hunched over. There is no public transportation available to take him over the rugged terrain to class. This single dad estimates that he’s walked about 1,600 miles since he started taking his son to school and then home.
“I know that my son is physically disabled but there is nothing wrong with his mind,” he told a newspaper. “However, I couldn’t find any school here with the facilities to accept him and was constantly rejected.” Waves of disappointment could have stopped him but he persevered.
Xiao Qiang was accepted to the Fengxi Primary School, Yu vowed to do everything in his power to make sure his son would get there every day. His dream is for Xiao Qiang to one day go to college.
This father awakened to his own courage and perseverance but he also awakened to his son’s potential and he restored possibility to his son’s future. This is living a resurrected life. This is a life that is steeped in hope and courage. A life that is lived for someone else, where our deepest desire is to give all that we are away. When we search for someone else’s happiness we find our own.
Living a resurrected life means we face uncertainty every day. We know that the illusion of control is but a shadow and we refuse to allow our fears to bring us to a stop.
“Bethany Hamilton, is a suffer. Her story was told in the movie Soul Surfer. Her arm was bitten off during a shark attack. But Bethany went back into the water to try surfing again less than one month after the horrific attack. She was asked how she could have gotten back into the water so soon and her response was that she knew if she waited even another day longer, she may never have gone back in again. “ She knew fear could have stopped her.
The writer of the article says,
“How often we are faced with just such a thing in our own lives – the waves beckon, but we stand frozen on the shore, wanting assurances of perfect safety before we dive back in. And because safety is never guaranteed, we often never get past dipping a toe in before we turn away, too afraid to try again. “
How many times we are faced with a similar dilemma in our lives. It takes tremendous courage to take a risk and not allow the ocean of fear to drown us. It’s also the little things that we face that can hold us back. Making a phone call, we would rather not make, picking ourselves up when we are struggling, keeping a promise or commitment, saying yes when we would rather say no.
It’s necessary to know what lies deeply in our heart. What is our passion? And how do we follow that? Is that passion greater than your fear of diving in and taking a risk. Perhaps your passion is to love well, to follow your goodness. Will you pull back if your wound is opened again? Or will you live your passion, your resurrected life?
Adversity can be our greatest teacher. When it comes knocking on our door will we open the door and invite it into our hearts? Or will we slam it shut never really knowing how it might have raised us up, so that we could become more than what we believed we could be.
Today Bethany is one of the greatest surfers in the world. A champion many times over, and an inspiration to millions.
Xiao Qiang and his father were offered a place to stay closer to the school, ending the daily 9 mile trek and today Xiao Qiang is first in his class, assured of a college education.
There is something mysteriously present when we follow the passion in our hearts: when we are conscious and aware of how we want to live. If God is the creator then it is God who has inspired our passions, and therefore we are most alive when we follow those passions.
May the waves of hope and love carry you deep into the softness of your heart and into the fearlessness of courage. May you taste the sweetness of God’s breath within your soul and know your place in this world.