“Pascha reveals the spiritual truth that all things renew eternally. There is no loss without a gift to take its place, no pain without joy, no death without resurrection. Things change and challenges test our resolve, but Spring reminds us that new life is always ready to break forth. We must roll in the ashes of the past to celebrate the hope of a Phoenix rising, take risks and make hard choices to welcome a more authentic and joyful experience.”
— Rip Kastaris, artist and friend
The words I share with you come from an email sent to me years ago, after I’d lost both my parents suddenly, was let go from my job, robbed within weeks of returning to Greece and had a mere .50 to my name. Because I no longer had a computer or money to visit an Internet cafe, it would be a month before I read these words, and I’ve found comfort and inspiration in them at least a few times since.
I revisit them today not for me, but for friends worldwide who have suffered much since the start of 2008 and were generous enough to share their pain and loss with me. Though death has been an intimate part of my life since I was 10, I will never pretend to know how anyone feels, nor conjure the perfect thing to say because each loss is uniquely personal. All I can do is love my friends, pray for their peace and healing, and keep kind thoughts in my head as they forge new chapters in their lives.
“The secret of happiness is freedom. The secret of freedom is courage” – Thucydides
I also revisit them for friends who have much to celebrate. As a testament that there is no death without resurrection, I have learned in the last days that the time to say goodbye to three friends is a reality. All are from California, all are Greek-American, all have decided to leave the cradle of Greece and return to careers, homes and futures in America. In hearing them talk about ‘why’ — which I know too well — the conversation is comfortable, but also difficult because the frustration surrounding my overdue and now complicated departure then surfaces. Pain somehow becomes more palatable when you are looking into the eyes of someone who mirrors your own. Yet, in the sadness of no longer having them here, something greater will be gained, namely the happiness and growth they deserve and everything good this journey called life has to offer.
Pascha is not only a time to mark the death of Christ and His resurrection, but also a time to reflect on our own resurrection.
* I dedicate this post to my friends NK, SN, JP, RK, RO, JG, N and RB, and DN, MM and NK.