The signs of emerging life in spring season remind us of the eternal hope of Easter. OSV News photo, Brad Birkholz

Leaving time for the miraculous to emerge

  • April 11, 2024

More than a week has passed since Easter and there is still chocolate sitting in the Easter baskets. We are gradually learning that joy can be spread over many days in small doses, rather than trying to consume it all at once. Though the Easter baskets appear on Sunday morning, the resurrection in my life rarely arrives overnight. New life is emerging more than arriving suddenly.

When I ache into growth in my life, I try to pick one small thing and change a habit over 3-6 weeks. For Lent, I limited my social media time to an hour a day. After that, the apps were unavailable. It was harder than I expected.

I noticed patterns in how I use the apps, what triggers the desire to log in and scroll, how my social media use is related to the different parts of my day. I was uncomfortable with the way I was using them and more uncomfortable when given the opportunity to use my time differently. A new way of relating to and using social media is emerging, but the new life is not fully here yet.

I continue to learn my way through parenting, having passed the 16-year mark. Just when I think I have made significant progress, my anger flares and my yelling wields shame like a sword. It takes me minutes (where it used to take days) to find a way to repair, and still, the new life is so tentative and touch and go. I want to be patient and kind, instead of having to practice them constantly with great effort and many errors. Emerging is painful.

Indigenous land activist Eriel Deranger insists that any time we are changing the way things are or building something new there will be labour and struggle — like childbirth. There is sacrifice and loss and fear in the work of making space for new life. There is labour pain and contraction. Birth — and rebirth — are a collective process, rather than a singular moment of individual accomplishment.

My Catholic spiritual tradition spends these weeks after Easter reading through Acts, the stories of the early followers of Jesus trying to make sense of the Resurrection. The Messiah was crucified and buried in a tomb. And then the tomb is empty.

As my six-year-old said this weekend, “Mom, this makes no sense!”

The women who go to the tomb are shocked to find it empty. The couple walking to Emmaus spend a whole day with Jesus and do not recognize their friend and teacher. He appears to the ones in hiding and they need to see and touch the wounds. He makes a second appearance because Thomas is not having any of it. The disciples who have returned to fishing know it is Jesus, but they cannot quite believe it still.

At all times in history, miracles and new life take time to recognize and integrate. Somehow, we falsely believe that resurrection is a complete departure from the suffering that precedes it. The hope and possibility of something new are emerging from what is with all the power and discomfort of change.

Spring proceeds from winter, a warming moment at a time. Snow drifts melt into puddles and streams. Snow shifts into showers. Brown earth and dead grass give way to the tiniest green shoots. Buds form on the ends of the trees and expand until they finally burst. The smallest patches of sky push sunshine through dark clouds. Spring is emerging.

When we recognize and receive what is happening, it feels like a sudden miracle. But it was in the works long before we saw it. As we go about the work of Easter in our lives, we would do well to remember that emerging is made up of all the many moments and movements that will bring forth new life. Some of these resurrections have been centuries in the making. 

Here is to the emerging hope of Easter. To the personal change that is working itself out in my soul. To the questions that need to be asked over and over again. To the reformers and disrupters who spend lifetimes challenging injustice. To a world being constantly reborn.

(Perrault works in Catholic health care in Saskatoon and writes and speaks about faith. Her website is

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