Easter: Tripping Over Joy

The Easter season has only just begun. It will go on for another seven weeks, and then it will go on for eternity. This poem, for me at least, captures both its magnificence and its munificence, its great grace and its hilarity. There is a laughter that comes when we are deeply relieved at having escaped a calamitous situation, at being saved from peril. The joy of Christ’s resurrection is palpable, riotous, and full of mirth. What a coup! What an outrageous upset! All is well after all!

To grind on in grim exertion, really believing that we can and must wrest the victory out of the hand of a divine opponent whose win would mean our loss, is to misunderstand everything—to have eyes that cannot see and ears that cannot hear and a heart that cannot understand.

(The poem is by Hafez, a 14th-century Persian Muslim, but the Light in it is real.)

A Thousand Serious Moves

What is the difference
Between your Existence
And that of a Saint?

The Saint knows
That the spiritual path
Is a sublime chess game with God
And that the Beloved
Has just made such a Fantastic Move
That the Saint is now continually
Tripping over joy
And Bursting out in Laughter
And saying, “I Surrender!”

Whereas, my dear,
I am afraid you still think
You have a thousand serious moves.


Photo: Denny 637, Flickr C.C.

About K. Mulhern

Kathleen Mulhern teaches courses in world history, European history, and history of Christianity. She has taught at Denver Seminary, Colorado School of Mines, and Regis University. She particularly focuses on the historical roots of the political, economic, religious, and cultural systems that have contributed to contemporary society.

  • Todd Clary

    What an outstanding truth! And just what I needed to hear right now.

    • K. Mulhern

      It’s pretty much what I need to hear all the time!

  • http://briarcroft.wordpress.com Emily Gibson

    What a find, Kathleen! It will help snap me out of my post-Easter doldrums!

  • Deb Arca

    Kathleen, I love Hafiz! Thanks for resurrecting him for me today! Love this poem. All of the poems from the book: I Heard God Laughing are wonderful. Happy Easter indeed!