The Day After Sunday
These days in our ultra-inspired, #blessed culture, you hear a lot of modern day proverbs (read: memes) instructing us in calligraphy that we need to get through Friday and Saturday in order to get to Sunday.
This is, of course, a broad Easter reference.
Oh, you know the one. Jesus was arrested, tried, denied, killed, dyed eggs, then had brunch. Or something.
Not sure where Peeps come in. Probably somewhere around the seventh Station.
Right before Easter this year, I heard a kid ask his dad for candy whilst in line at the store. The dad said no because Easter Sunday was coming, and it was worth holding out for. This kid (my spirit animal) paused, dejected, and asked, “But what happens after Sunday?”
Good freaking question.
What does happen after Sunday?
What happens when you sacrifice, go through a trial, allow something to die with the hope of resurrection, and somehow arrive on the other side of that stone you rolled away?
My feeling is that the writers of the Bible didn’t know either, and were all, “Uh, well he, like, just went to heaven. Don’t ask questions.”
I identify as a Catholic, it’s just that I have been wondering recently if I should rethink whether the Bible is a definitive user’s manual. Maybe it was only meant to be a conversation starter, like a good coffee table book for when your dinner party gets boring. Or maybe the Bible was the first Amazon review of God: “Totally has a lot of wrath, but did help me get out of Egypt. 4 stars.”
I don’t think this is as sacreligious of an idea as many of my family will berate me for. It’s something the disciples struggled with as much as I do, after all. I watch a lot of History Channel documentaries, so I’m pretty much an anthropologist. I have the cargo pants to prove it.
Religion is not necessarily faith, and church attendance is definitely not morality, so I feel just fine having this discussion.
I love Easter as much as the next guy. Who wouldn’t? It’s finally spring-ish. Pastels replace drab winter colors. Buds of things are birthing themselves everywhere you turn.
They (whomever they is) really knew what they were doing when they planned for Easter to be when Easter is.
There’s all this hope and promise that the darkness has passed. And it has, in all kinds of ways, except one.
The darkness happened, and we can’t run away from it happening again.
So that’s where I’m stuck. It’s Sunday. I made it like I knew I would. I’m a warrior. Duh. But what happens Monday? What happens when the sugar high turns into a hangover, and all of my friends and family go home with their casserole dishes?
What exactly happens after one is resurrected?
In the Holy Week of my life thus far, I sacrificed the shedding of a skin; waited with hope for life again; and found myself on the other side. The thing is, I’m still same exact potato sack I was when I went in the hole.
This is, by the way, why I hate caterpillar-to-butterfly stories. They raise expectations.
What about a good old fashioned lobster? They lose the layer they’ve outgrown, they’re a little vulnerable for a bit, and they end up better than ever with a shiny new shell to show off at book club.
<This is the part where the word “Gay” starts happening every other sentence. Brace yourself.>
Being gay has been the loudest thing in my life, thus far. It’s like walking around with a high strung one-man-band right behind me all day, every day. Like a dancing Dick Van Dyke a là Mary Poppins.
Name pun and possible irony notwithstanding.
It’s amazing how unimportant the word gay became the second I became gay. It’s not the Scary Girl From The Ring pushing me out of the closet feeling any more. It just is. I love who I became.
Became is such a stupid word. As is the word choice. Everyone has a choice to lean into their circumstances, it doesn’t mean we like it, and it doesn’t mean we choose the catalyst.
Not everyone chooses to get divorced, or have a business go under, or have their moms die or to be arrested after dinner with friends just because you’re brown and named Jesus.
That’s Friday, you don’t choose Friday.
Saturday is a whole lot of deep breaths and taking stock. Do I have my phone charger? Did my aunt really say that about me? Do I need a lawyer? What’s the easiest food to binge eat? What else could I have done?
And my personal favorite mantra: Who am I now?
Sunday does come, sometimes as a thunder clap, sometimes as a rolling mist. And it’s euphoric. It’s a good kiss on a warm fall night in the middle of the street.
That’s where you think the story ends. Roll the credits. You know who you are and where you’ll go from here. The story is sewn up.
It’s just that Monday came, and I feel like I’m losing my own story. My struggles in navigating being human are getting lost in a new part of the narrative. I wanted to start the credits, but the Post Gay part of my story isn’t a sequel. It’s the disappointing mix of life-alteringly difficult and simultaneously mundane part of Easter. The Easter part of my book was just a chapter, and it just so happened to be a very loud one.
I’ve been accepted and even greeted in this new chapter with a sigh of relief that I may have found “the thing that was wrong.” In earlier chapters, I tried making that “thing” a hole I could fill with a person. That left me heartbroken and confused. I even tried working out, which weirdly didn’t take. I started businesses, and traveled around the country for years running from my Friday.
The topography of my story is full of bumps and scars and broken shards of islands on which I’ve tried to plant my flag.
On Friday my story split into two: the before and the after.
On Saturday I figured out that the only place I don’t belong is inside of my own mind.
On Sunday I kicked down those closet doors, put on a rainbow flannel, and left the old shell under the shroud in the tomb.
This is Monday. Monday is the cleanup. Monday is when we hide the candy from ourselves. Monday is when we figure out that Sunday’s sugar high is actually a one time thing, and that turning the page requires the slow and steady work of building a practice.
Monday takes a lot of self care, and a lot of self compassion.
Monday is when we allow the whole weekend into the story. Monday is when we tell everyone who will listen where we’ve been, if only to show ourselves how far we’ve come.
My Monday is for building a bridge between my selves.
That and flushing Peeps.