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A second Easter Sunday as the surviving twin

Here we are at Easter Sunday. Resurrection Day animates the Christian hope, without which our faith is meaningless. Red Twin loved Easter Sunday. My feelings are complicated.

I’m not so numb this year. When I think of the resurrection, there is a stirring in me; a feeling wells up, but I struggle to name it. It could be joy or celebration, but it might just as easily bubble out as tears rather than laughter, and not happy tears.

Christ’s resurrection is the first fruits of what is to come: all things are being made new and will be consummated at His second coming. So I ache when I hear Andrew Peterson’s song Maybe Next Year. It envisions the Christian fulfilment of the Jewish Passover words “next year in Jerusalem”:

To that city that we long for, that we feel so far away
Where the dawn will drive away our tears
And we’ll meet in the New Jerusalem someday
Maybe next year
Maybe next year

My days have been heavy for a long time now, and to have that lifted sounds so good. It’s because of the resurrection that we have the hope and confidence to cry, “Come, Lord Jesus!”

At the same time, I am not willing that day to come. I don’t want Jesus to come back yet.

Red Twin’s life was tragically cut short. It weighs on me that my chances of having the same aggressive cancer at some point in my life are pretty high. I find myself paying more attention to my body and rhythms than I have before, wondering if an earlier intervention could bring a different outcome. I consider what it might mean for our future here in Tanzania. I imagine my life with a stoma bag and wonder if I will hate it as much as she did. Never far from my heart is the possibility that I may not live to see my sons reach adulthood.

I wondered what it will be like to be 70 without Red Twin, but it’s likely that neither one of us will make it there. That feels like a further devastation: not just the death of two individuals, but of the indefinable thing that we were together, this twinship. I feel the burden of being the continuing twin. I want to live to old age. And if Jesus were to come back before Easter next year, my chance to do that – our chance to do that – would also be cut short. Just like if my next lot of tests later this year come back positive for cancer instead of negative.

Maybe this is theologically incorrect. After all, Christian resurrection means we are still us, just made whole. And it is better by far. But these are my feelings, not my systematic theology. And I feel like I have a task to finish, to live this life in this world that Red Twin was taken from. To get in a good innings. Thinking that I might not get to do that makes me feel cheated.

And so as much as I long for the new creation, I also want it to be delayed. What I grasp for with one hand, I push away with the other.

Though I have an impulse to laugh on Easter Sunday — an impulse I did not have last year — I find myself weeping. Maybe the feeling is just called longing. Yes, longing for the new creation. That’s a hopeful longing. But also longing for a twin who is not with me and who is missing out on seeing her nephews grow. It’s longing to realise a lifetime that could slip away from me prematurely, as it did for her. And though the resurrection is my hope of seeing her again, the return of Christ somehow feels like it jeopardises my opportunity to live out the full measure of my days as much as cancer would.

Categories: Written by Tamie

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Tamie Davis

Tamie Davis is an Aussie living in Tanzania, writing at meetjesusatuni.com.

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