The Tragedy of Easter
Updated Aril 9, 2020
I’ll never forget the day I witnessed death. I don’t believe that anyone is truly ever prepared for such a traumatic event, regardless of circumstances. This traumatic event has given me a different perspective on death, my feelings and thoughts regarding dying changed that day. I no longer feared death.
I was 19 years old and, having just gotten off of work I was traveling home down the interstate outside of Dallas, Texas. It was a foggy evening and traffic was backed up on the bridge. Across the interstate, going the opposite direction, an accident had occurred. Vehicles were piling up one on top of another. There were so many I don’t even remember the number, it was dozens.
The motionless body of a small child lay beside my vehicle, having been ejected from a vehicle on the other side of the intersection. It’s an image forever etched in my mind, it never goes away. My immature, teenage mind could not wrap around what I was witnessing. I was in shock. While I saw this happening before me, I could not physically move or mentally process anything. An EMT gave me something to “calm me” although I had never felt calmer. I was unable to process anything. I was advised to stay home and rest. I called off work.
Alone in my apartment the emotion struck, I was anything but calm. The grief for that child, for her parents. Did she survive? Did her family? And if so, how was that possible with what I had witnessed? I grieved for a child I did not know. I was so heartbroken, as though I knew this child personally. Even as I write this, 18 years later, I am struck with emotion. It’s not something I talk about, it’s not something many people know.
A horrible tragedy. It’s one thing to hear about it, it’s another to witness. How many of us have experienced or witnessed such a tragedy? Or felt it’s grief in one form or another?
My husband currently likes the Medal of Honor series that is on Netflix right now. I want to be able to enjoy this with him but at the same time, it’s hard for me to watch. The series is about real people who sacrificed their lives. I’ve watched a few episodes with him and I just get so emotional. I don’t know the people in them, nor did I know most of the stories prior but it makes me sadder than anything I’ve ever watched before. Part of it is because my husband and grandfather are Veterans, so naturally it tugs my heart, and also knowing that someone unselfishly sacrificed their life overwhelms me.
In some of the episodes, other Veterans and friends speak of the recipients who had heroically died and it’s just the icing on the cake of my emotions! I hurt for them and I am sad at what they’ve had to witness. It pains me to imagine the grief their families and spouses must feel. All around, it strikes grief in me.
The ultimate tragedy.
All of these examples of death are tragic and while I don’t mean to make this such a somber post for Easter, it is a reflection on my own feelings this past week. As we approach Easter I’m thinking about the reason for this season, the death of Jesus – the sacrifice made for us. I think about what He went through, the pain He must have felt and all that He endured. And when I think about his mother, Mary, I imagine the mother’s face of the child from that accident 18 years ago. The pain she felt must have been agonizing.
If you were to ask me if I feared death, at one point in my life I would have told you yes. But I no longer fear death for myself because I have faith in a God who promises me eternal life. If you were to ask me if I feared the death of those closest to me my answer is a bit different. As a wife and mother, I can’t bear the thought of losing my husband or children. I would be heartbroken, however, there is still a peace associated with knowing that they will one day get to meet Jesus.
“Jesus said to her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die.'” John 11:25
Why we celebrate Easter.
All of these thoughts and ramblings lead me to one question in particular. It's one thing to mourn the deaths of those we love, we have witnessed, or of heroes, but how often are we thinking about the deaths of those who have never found Jesus? Click To Tweet There are people who have never heard about Jesus and those who have turned their back to Him, and one day they will face death (as we all will). Perhaps this is the saddest of all tragedies. The deaths were grief should hit the hardest.
This weekend as we remember why we celebrate the Easter season, also remember the lost. Jesus’ sacrificial death for our sins and His resurrection is the very reason why Easter is more about them than it is about perfect Easter services and egg hunts. If you are a Believer, you are called to be a witness to the lost and the storyteller of the grandest story in history. If you are lost, know that you are so unconditionally loved that Jesus died for you. And that this week you have been on my mind, heart, and in my prayers.
“If you declare with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” Romans 10:9