Observing Good Friday and Easter from a sickle cell perspective

A columnist in chronic pain finds profound meaning in the holiday season

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by Mary Shaniqua |

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Today is Good Friday, which in my faith marks the crucifixion of Jesus. The Bible narrates that Jesus was crucified, remained dead for three days, and rose to life on the third day. The resurrection is celebrated on Easter Sunday. Much of the Christian faith is based upon this weekend.

Good Friday is a somber day when Christians around the world remember the suffering that Jesus endured. When I was younger, I watched a film called “The Passion of the Christ,” which depicts the Easter story in film. Although I watched it years ago, I remember the Good Friday scene quite vividly.

There is a temptation to skip through the sufferings of Good Friday and jump straight into the celebrations and joy of Easter Sunday. But in doing so, we negate the importance of the events of Good Friday and reduce the impact of Easter Sunday. The resurrection can only be accepted as a miracle because of the death that preceded it.

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Out of darkness comes the light

I believe there is something to be learned here that I can apply to my life as I battle sickle cell disease. I must endure the darkness to get to the light. And in doing so, the light becomes even more joyous and enjoyable. This is extremely pertinent for me, not just because we are in the Easter season, but also because the past fortnight has been a real battle for me as I experienced the increased severity and frequency of chronic pain.

Navigating life with an underlying health condition that brings bouts of severe and constant pain can cause a feeling of hopelessness. No matter what I do, the battle never ends. So, to counteract that feeling of hopelessness, it is vital for me to hold on to the light. I try my best to focus on the positive experiences and good times I’ve had despite my diagnosis. This helps me maintain an excitement for life and a hope for the future, even when battling crippling pain.

I am thankful for my faith, which teaches me that in my struggles, I am not alone. The Easter story is a perfect illustration of that. Christ endured the pain of the cross and thus understands what I am going through.

However, no matter your beliefs, as a sickle cell patient, it is highly likely that you have experienced some difficult and tumultuous times. I hope to encourage us all, during this season, to remember that the bad times and low moments we experience do not last forever.

In my mother tongue of Yoruba, there is a saying: ‘t’ibi t’ire la dale aye’ (excuse the slight misspelling due to keyboard constraints), which translates roughly to the good and the bad coexist.

As a community, we must continue to press on and persevere despite our circumstances, because without the bad, we cannot fully appreciate the good.

Note: Sickle Cell Disease News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Sickle Cell Disease News or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to sickle cell disease.


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