Roxane B. Salonen, Special to The Forum , Published March 29 2013
Living Faith: Easter offers a green sprig of hope to allI’m one of the blessed ones, I know, though I don’t say this smugly or lightly.
The plain truth is that I grew up with an eternal-optimist mother, a person who always, no matter how dark the circumstances, pulled out from her arsenal of love an upbeat quote or line and put it before me as a green sprig of hope.
The chance to have been formed in this soil, despite not all being rosy in those earliest years or any that have followed, has made a significant difference.
Nevertheless, despite this gift of perpetual-green possibility, my life, as most, has been far from dark-free.
I can go back to age 14 when I looked hard at my wrists and wondered whether to slit them and be done with it all. But I don’t have to travel back that far, even, to touch on a moment of despair that tried to convince me only a bleak future lay in wait.
“Help …” was all I could muster.
Sometimes, that’s all we’ve got. And when we’re at that place, it is enough.
I connect that moment to one that took place upon a cross many years ago, when things looked about as wretched as they could be and words were couched in gasping breaths.
When I uttered that word in that cold, hopeless moment, nothing happened right away. God didn’t appear in a thunderous voice or a flash of brilliant light. But somehow I found the grace to take one more step forward.
In time, I was able to look back and pinpoint moments that had been, undeniably it seemed, a direct response to my cry. And in the reckoning I whispered, “You were there,” relieved to know my plea had not met deaf ears.
We are never alone.
The optimism I’ve tried to convey here, though real, doesn’t erase the reality that some days light proves elusive.
As a mother, I have known a frequent, silent suffering and the bearing up of things that, if we could in a moment recognize their true weight, would cause us to break.
I’ve also learned that when we lean hard on faith and trust in a power greater than our own, we can both endure this life and live it in joy, come what may.
If Easter is about nothing else, it’s that.
Think about what Jesus endured in his final hours on earth. Those who have seen the movie, “The Passion of the Christ,” will recall the torment.
But just when things seemed undeniably, irreparably hopeless, everything changed.
At the rolling away of stone, we found the beaten, bloodied man gone. And through testimonies and evidence, we know he rose in glory. Cleaned up and healed, he’s now both home and here, waiting with us to catch up.
Tomorrow, billions of people who embrace this sprig of hope will have it extended once again and thereby remember the true meaning of Easter. The colored eggs, bunnies and ham dinners help us celebrate this new life, but there is so much more.
If I’d followed through on my black thoughts and ended it all as a teen, I’d have missed out on an incredibly rich life filled with many moments of profundity and loveliness.
Thank God that somewhere in that dank space, I trusted Easter, not just as possibility but probability.
For those who, today, feel nothing but dark, hang on. Trust in the real possibility that another day, bigger and brighter, is on its way.
This column was written exclusively for The Forum.
Roxane Salonen is a freelance writer who lives in Fargo with her husband and five children. If you have a story of faith to share with her, email firstname.lastname@example.org