A Bad Day and the Day After
by Marcia Lee Laycock
My dog died yesterday. We got a call from the vet that someone had brought her there after she’d been hit by a car. She was still alive when we arrived and we had to decide whether or not to try and keep her that way. She was an old dog – somewhere between fifteen and eighteen, we think, and she was in pain, so we did what was merciful.
Then I got home to find an email from an editor saying he was rejecting a manuscript I’d sent him a few months ago. I was kind of numb as I read it. The words took a while to sink in.
I was expecting my dog to die soon. She was old a long time ago. I was pretty sure that manuscript would be rejected by that editor. It isn’t ready to be published.
But it was still a bad day. A day when things die always is.
But now that the day is over and I look back on it, I see there were some good things in that space of twenty-four hours. I was able to put my hand over my dog’s beating heart one more time and cry a little before having to go on with a day full of things that needed to be done. I was able to be thankful for the fifteen years that little ball of fur and bone was underfoot. I was able to be thankful for friends that make you feel better just by sitting across a table sipping tea; for days full of mundane things that are so beautiful in their rhythm that you hardly notice. And for that word, ‘hardly,’ because I did notice, just a bit; for the hope that gives me. And for editors whose rejections leave you still believing in the dreams you have for words strung across a page.
There are always things to be thankful for, even on a day when death becomes a reality. There is always hope for a new day, hope that the darkness won’t always seem impenetrable. There is always hope because our Redeemer lives.
It was a dark day when He died -literally, according to the scriptures - but Jesus didn’t stay wrapped in death. He rose and walked among his friends again, spoke to them, encouraged them, ate with them. He not only gave them hope for a new day, he gave them life forever after, life lived in the presence of God.
The Apostle John wrote that “Jesus did many other miraculous signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the son of God and that by believing you may have life in his name” (John 20:30,31).
We no longer live within the day on which death seemed victorious. We live in the day that came three days after. We call it Easter.