Sorting by

Skip to main content

What do we need in order to celebrate?

We think we need better friends. We think we need to be without sin, or pretend to be. We think we need cleaner homes and maybe we do, just so there’s open space on the counter for the dessert buffet. 

(I’m using the royal “we.”)

But all these Eastertide reflections are really about one thing, for me: I think I need everything to be resolved before any celebration is warranted. I need everything to be okay. Work before play, you know? And there’s more to do, and it isn’t perfect, and I’m not perfect, and so the party needs to be postponed. 

This is old for me; I was the kind of kid who never used my favorite stickers because no location ever seemed quite good enough for permanent fixture. But it’s deep, too. It’s about genocides a hemisphere away and burned out homes down the freeway from here and loneliness and poverty and grief on this block, in this building. It’s all those Great Evils and the more intimate ones that are so hard to catalog: a friend beset by panic attacks from work stress, a loved one losing another much wanted pregnancy, my own uncertain professional future, the pang I feel whenever I think about my grandma who is living alone for the first time in her 87 years. 

How can we celebrate while others are suffering? How can we celebrate if things are– and here I gesture vaguely– like this?

When I started my dissertation work, I figured I would be sad a lot. (The research bears it out.) So I found my way to a spiritual director who, every month or so, asks me questions that are both annoyingly obvious and revelatory. And here’s the one I come back to like a talisman. You talk a lot about what God might want from you, she said. What do you think God wants for you?

What do you think God wants for you? 

Photo by Tessa Rampersad on Unsplash

Katie Van Zanen

Katie Van Zanen is a doctoral candidate in the Joint Program in English & Education at the University of Michigan, where she studies the rhetorical and ethical decision-making of raised evangelical social media writers. She has been a writer for the post calvin since 2014.


Leave a Reply