The Empty Tomb

Question: Am I fully alive?
Fear: I am dead.

The empty tomb provides a place for us to contemplate what it means to be fully alive (to be the dead living) and what is holding us back to make us the living dead.

For many, there is an issue that therapists call the elephant in the room. It’s the hidden, obvious problem, dysfunction, wound, or addiction that is boiling us alive. It’s hidden because often we have no idea it’s there. It’s obvious because once we see it, we smack our foreheads and wonder why we hadn’t noticed it before.

To move forward, we first have to identify the zombies. Often we inherit the issue that is boiling us alive from our parents. Their critical voice or addiction or insecurities are passed on to us, and they become the zombies dragging us back to the grave.

Second, we need to develop a sense of urgency about life. Though we know otherwise, many of us act as if we will live forever, and we discover our mortality too late. The tomb reminds us that each day brings us one day closer to death. Rather than getting depressed about it, we need to see each day as a gift—one that beckons us to let go of what holds us back so that we can be free to strain forward for what lies ahead.

Part of what it means to move ahead is making peace with our past. In particular, we need to make peace with those who have cursed us as we move from victim to witness through the process of forgiveness. We let go. We immerse ourselves in grace. We declare to the memory that it no longer has a hold on us. We can see it still, but only as a witness.

We don’t stop there. We must now turn the curse into a blessing by growing from the experience, learning from it, and, in some cases, seeing the good that can come from it. But even if we can’t see any good, we can still grow stronger.

Going Deeper
Randy Pausch, The Last Lecture
Henry David Thoreau, Walden

Photo credit: Sharon Mollerus on / CC BY
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