It’s the middle of October and we are waiting for Halloween in a couple of weeks. This isn’t usually the time to think of the Paschal Mystery, which is connected to Easter and that usually happens in the spring. However, I have a very different reason for thinking of the Paschal Mystery at this time.
As many of you have probably already read on my Facebook page, I was laid off yesterday because the director was “restructuring the department,” which is legal speak for wanting to get rid of me without being sued for wrongful termination. It had nothing to do with the pandemic, which we are still struggling with.
I know that I am not the only one, the first or probably the last, who will be laid off during this crazy, upside down year from hell. In many ways, we are all going through our own Paschal Mystery too. As a reminder about what the Paschal Mystery is, it refers to the passion, death, and resurrection that Jesus experienced at the hands of the Pharisees because of their jealousy and unwillingness to accept him. I believe we all go through our own, many times, during our life.
When we experience a loss ourselves, like from the death of a loved one, we all must go through our grief process and pass through all the stages of grief that Elizabeth Kübler-Ross identified after many years of working with the dying. They are denial, bargaining, anger, sadness, or depression, and finally acceptance. They don’t necessarily go in a nice order or in a straight line. Instead, they go all over the place, back and forth, up and down, around and around. And sometimes, many times over they are repeated until eventually, at some point, we reach acceptance and find some peace.
I KNOW all this from having taught it so many times to others getting ready for ministry. I’ve been able to identify my own stages through the losses of loved ones before, like my mom and dad, among others. And I honestly, genuinely believe that God is with me, carrying me through this. But man, it sure stinks!
I already have been able to identify the stages as I’m going through them since just yesterday when all of this began. I came home with all my stuff from work and spent way too much time, mindlessly, separating the large from the small paperclips. (denial). Then I spent some time talking with just a couple of people, letting them know what had happened, and in talking it out, I was able to make fun of myself for being so naïve (depression is anger turned in on oneself). Then I spent some time (not a lot) thinking some choice words that make me think I need to go to confession (anger). When I awoke this morning and got some text responses, I immediately cried, which I hadn’t done at all (sadness again, expressed in a different way).
I have received some wonderfully supportive comments on Facebook where I posted what had happened, and I am truly, truly grateful for them as well as the prayers and support. I know that there are many others who are facing very difficult times as well, some worse than me, but it still hurts like hell to realize that a past student of mine was capable of doing this.
My heart hurts as tears roll down my cheeks. But I also am trying to remember that after the suffering and death of Jesus (and all of us), will come a new day. I am trying to stay positive, trust in my good God, and wait for my own resurrection and Easter Day. I just hope Jesus doesn’t make me wait a long time, because I really don’t do well with patience.