March 23, 2018

Emmaus Walk / Debra Tomaselli

How have you experienced the resurrection? We all need to

Debra Tomaselli“There’s a resurrection,” Father Tom said. “There’s always a resurrection.”

Years ago, he delivered this hopeful message at a Good Friday service. Now I know what he meant.

Back then, I needed a resurrection.

Long after the death of my younger brother, I remained entombed in darkness, sadness and depression. It’s just how it was.

When a friend suggested I get help, I bristled. Why was she was trying to “fix” me? She had no idea what I was going through. She’d never had a death in her family. What did she know?

Undaunted, she mailed a copy of the book, The Courage to Grieve, by Judy Tatelbaum to me. What was she thinking? I threw it across the room.

But something made me pick it up and start reading. As I read about anger and the pivotal role it plays in grief, I felt smug. Nope, I didn’t identify with any of those emotions. I’m right, I thought. I’m not angry. I don’t need help.

I really wasn’t angry. How could anyone harbor anger against my younger brother Jim, who didn’t have an ounce of aggression in his body?

Later, I kept reading. If you can’t identify with anger, the author wrote, try addressing the deceased with this phrase, “I wish.”

Immediately, a torrent of regrets gushed forth. I wish you hadn’t died so young. I wish you had been healthy. I wish you had a job, a wife, a family, a car, a driver’s license. I wish I didn’t miss you so much. ... It was as if someone had unlocked the dark tomb of misery inside me, allowing it to begin to escape. Sobs racked my body.

Finally, the book said that you know you’re recovering from grief when you can begin to see something good come out of the tragedy. That sounds crazy, I thought.

It took time, but the resurrection came.

Eventually, instead of seeking sympathy for my loss, I helped others struggling with a significant death, offering understanding and consolation.

Instead of regretting lost opportunities with Jim, I discovered simple, fun ways of expressing my love for my family and friends. Instead of questioning God, I worked to alleviate the suffering of those around me, by feeding the homeless, donating goods and making charitable contributions. An increased prayer life, along with efforts to exhibit kindness and generosity, became my first priorities.

With the help of God, my sorrow turned to joy.

The more I shared, the better I felt. The more I sought Jesus’ presence in my life, the more I learned to trust in his ways. Love, peace, hope and happiness replaced anxiety, frustration and sadness. Indeed, thankfulness consumes me for the God who made a way to reveal that his peace transcends even the incomprehensible circumstances of this world.

We’re not so far from the events that took place some 2,000 years ago. Some circumstances are difficult to understand. Sorrow may surround us, but there’s a resurrection. There’s always a resurrection.

(Debra Tomaselli writes from Altamonte Springs, Florida. She can be reached at

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