There’s not much in the Passion narratives about Easter Saturday. We know that they hurriedly buried the body of Jesus because it was nearing the Sabbath. Then the next we hear of them is when they go to the tomb to anoint the body on Easter morning. What were they doing in the meantime? We don’t know if the twelve and the women were gathered together or if they were separated. We don’t know where they were staying. They had spent the last three years roaming the countryside, they had left their jobs and homes. I’m not sure where they would have gone. We know that after the resurrection they were gathered together in some room somewhere with the doors locked. Maybe they went there right after the crucifixion. There is nothing we know about this day.
In the silence emotions must have been raging. Maybe there were no words to express what the twelve and the women were feeling and so it seemed better left to silence. The person they had given everything up for was gone and it seemed they had nothing to show for it. They were alone. They were probably scared. And nothing really made sense. What is there to say about that?
There was a time in my transition that was like Easter Saturday. I wasn’t sure how things were going to turn out. I had left behind who I was. I was becoming unrecognizable but I wasn’t resurrected yet. My body was broken in a lot of ways. My surgery wounds were still bright red and angry. My body and voice was shifting and unsettled. My acne was out of control. It was awkward and painful. I was only being perceived as male about half of the time. This transformation was both public and private. The world and my friends could see me changing in a really public way, but I was still transitioning privately in a lot of ways. I couldn’t explain what I was going through. There weren’t words to explain how I was changing. I found speech more difficult than I ever had before. Words would get lost in the space between my mind and my mouth. I had to withdraw in order to process what I was going through. In a lot of ways I had to entomb myself in order to prepare for the resurrection. I know I said this before in the section about the crucifixion, but it bears repeating; after death and before resurrection is this weird silence.
In that time of silence my friends and family were left to wonder what was happening. They were left alone in the silence trying to figure out where they fit in my new life. They saw me changing but couldn’t quite tell who I would be. In a lot of ways their process had to be separate from my process. I think some of them probably came together to process what was happening while others tried to deal with it on their own.
I was on testosterone for over six months before I finally told my mother that I was transgender. In this way she lived her own Easter Saturday. We exchanged emails over that time, but there were no phone calls for about 2 or 3 months (and we had spoken fairly frequently before that). She must have known something was up by my silence. As she lived her own Easter Saturday, I lived mine. I was in a tomb that I wasn’t sure I was ready to emerge from. I didn’t know how to tell my mother about what I was going through. I didn’t think she could handle seeing or hearing from me as who I really was. I didn’t think she would be able to handle my transition. And then once she knew, but before she saw me (I came out in a letter), that waiting was its own kind of Easter Saturday. Would she recognize her own child? Would the child she gave birth to look like a stranger? Would the intimacy be lost? We dealt with our questions in isolation from one another.
The process of transition is a messy one. Both public and private. Both internal and external. When you set out it’s really hard to tell where you’ll end up. I had no idea what I would look like when all was said and done. Would I immediately start balding? Would facial hair grow in fast or slow? What would my chest surgery results be? How would my scars heal? Would I still be able to sing once my voice settled? How long would it take until I looked fully male? So many questions and no real answers. I was told that it all takes time. You just have to wait. And so I withdrew into my own head, my own heart to prepare myself and wait.
It’s this time that is perhaps the scariest part. At least when I was in the beginning there was always something to do; I had doctor’s visits to attend, blood work to get done. There was surgery planning and preparation. Then there was surgery and healing. And my friends and partner rallied around me to make sure that those things got done and I was supported. But then when it was all over there was just the waiting to see how it would all turn out. It was then that we had to face our real feelings about what was happening. I had to really decide who I was becoming. My friends and partner had to figure out how I fit into their lives now. And it’s terrifying. What if the resurrection doesn’t happen? Or what if it happens but it’s different than you were expecting?
And so we were all in silence. We were all waiting. For that is what happens on Easter Saturday. The world waits. The silence is complete. The story pauses. There is nothing and there is everything. There is darkness and then there is light.