On Faking Easter

Read
“Fake it till you make it” is a common phrase that means to imitate confidence so that as the confidence produces success, it will generate real confidence…

The phrase is often associated with Alcoholics Anonymous… AA to Z; An Addictionary of the 12-Step Culture describes it as a “suggestion often made to newcomers who feel they can’t get the program and will go back to old behavior. The suggestion implies that if the newcomer acts according to the steps and teachings of the program, then the program will begin to work and the anxiety will fall away.”

(excerpts from the article “Fake it till you make it” on Wikipedia)

Reflect
Every priest I know, and every Christian I know, has at some point in their life arrived at Easter in despair.  Maybe its a tragedy that strikes in Holy Week, maybe its a depression lingering since before Ash Wednesday, maybe its the genuine fatigue of a very busy church season.

This year, my stepmother died.

On those occasions, when we show up at church on Easter Sunday to all the flowers and triumphant music, and it’s our duty to proclaim “Alleluia, Christ is Risen!” from the pulpit or the pew, we might just want to say, “I can’t do it” or even, “How can we believe this crap?”

I’m pretty sure that’s how the disciples felt on Easter too.  Mary, Thomas, Peter…all of a sudden they are asked to switch gears, to believe something impossible.  Turning a grieving mind and body (because, yes, grief is physical) into a rejoicing one is not unlike turning the Titanic.

And it’s times like that I thank God for all my friends in recovery who taught me to fake it till I make it.  A younger, naiver me hated the idea of fakery and inauthenticity.  But now I know better.  I know that sometimes entering into the reality that I am not yet feeling is how I will get there.  Easter will become real, if I say those words, and sing those songs until every cell in my body has turned course, and I believe it—Alleluia Christ has risen!

This is the power of liturgy and ritual—to transform our hearts by bringing us into a reality greater than ourselves.  And it is thanks to the liturgies of the Easter Season that my grief for my stepmother is slowly transforming into what I already believe is true, that Christ has defeated death, and she is with Him singing about it.

Respond
Is there a place in your life where you are having trouble living what you already know to be true?  Fake it till you make it, and let me know what happens.

—Amber Belldene

 

4 thoughts on “On Faking Easter

  1. Katherine Lawrence

    First my condolences on the death of someone so close. Having had to deal with 14 deaths since the end of September including my mother, your words did strike a familiar chord. Second, my gratitude that you’re willing to share your personal history–you might have touched someone that needs to hear that one who is writing to the faithful also is struggling with addictions. To this end I am passing on your comments to a dear friend who struggles daily. Third, having had several challenges this Easter season, I was encouraged by your words to live in the experience. Now off part-time work due to an injury/fall on Easter at church helping the acolyte, I am attempting to learn what this enforced time off means for me, especially since it is without pay, and Social Security only goes so far. What am I to learn? How is my life to change?

    1. Katherine Lawrence

      Due to typing one handed I even mistyped my own email address. Reposting comments.
      First my condolences on the death of someone so close. Having had to deal with 14 deaths since the end of September including my mother, your words did strike a familiar chord. Second, my gratitude that you’re willing to share your personal history–you might have touched someone that needs to hear that one who is writing to the faithful also is struggling with addictions. To this end I am passing on your comments to a dear friend who struggles daily. Third, having had several challenges this Easter season, I was encouraged by your words to live in the experience. Now off part-time work due to an injury/fall on Easter at church helping the acolyte, I am attempting to learn what this enforced time off means for me, especially since it is without pay, and Social Security only goes so far. What am I to learn? How is my life to change?

  2. George E. Hilty

    “Act as if” is a less colorful, less pejorative way of expressing the principle: our emotions will line up to follow our faith action. In miracles, God often awaits our faith action before the miracle materializes. The Hebrew priests had to step into the waters of the Jordan before they receded. Faith is a reasoned conviction allowing us to act accordingly–notwithstanding the vicissitudes of our moods or circumstances. We walk by faith, not by sight.[2 Corinthians 5:7]. Jesus demonstrated the “act as if “principle by explaining His curse of a fig tree: “Truly I tell you, if you say to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea’, and if you do not doubt in your heart, but believe that what you say will come to pass, it will be done for you. So I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.”[Mark 11:23-24]

  3. Barbara

    I guess this is when it’s better and easier to be a layperson; we can just suffer through the days as we need to, knowing that we will again someday have the joy of the Easter even if we can’t have it this year.

    I do always find meaning in the worship of the church and in its seasons, no matter what my personal situation happens to be. Often I find myself seeing things from a new angle – maybe something I hadn’t expected, but is there nonetheless.

    (I always had trouble with “fake it till you make it” in A.A., though. “One day at a time” was definitely the slogan that worked best for me.)

    Condolences on the loss of your stepmother. May flights of angels sing her to her rest….

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