He is alive! My heart beats with newness. Sunshine warms my face as I walk home anticipating a shared meal with my sister. Flowers fill my neighbours’ garden beds. Bright tulips. Bird songs. Later sunsets. Foil wrapped chocolates. This joyful feeling Easter brings is indescribable.

It’s not dependent on these fleeting delights. “He comes to make all things new.”  Jesus’ resurrection is a greater joy than all the gifts I receive. Heavenly happiness. The joy of knowing a Saviour who has opened the gates of heaven and is preparing a room for me, for you. This fuels a deep abiding joy that no illness, obstacle, fear, or disaster can take away.

There are many high and low times with a mental illness. During the lows, I find ways to bring back joy when it feels like I have lost it. Taking extra care of my body and spirit is essential. Delicious home-cooked meals, steaming cups of tea, and a good night’s sleep all ease sorrow.

Chicken dinners with roast vegetables may not seem like a remedy for anything but hunger. I beg to differ. The aroma of garlic butter and crisping potatoes pushes out sadness. I smile as I breathe in the scent of the warm dinner.  Eating it in company is always better. The intimacy of the dinner table creates conversations of interest and confidence. Moist meat falls off the bone and vegetables are sprinkled with spice. It’s a beautiful blessing to share a meal and nourish the body. There are many things needed to lighten the heart.

My spirit revives with the sacraments. Daily Mass. Recitation of the Rosary. Adoration. Frequent confession. Reception of the Holy Eucharist nourishes my soul. Thin white wafer. Jesus’ body and blood. Immeasurable spiritual results.

Many times I kneel in the chapel marveling at the cost of salvation. Jesus died and rose again. For me. For you. It takes more than a second look at the crucifix to understand the depth of his love. The suffering that he endured astounds me.

When kneeling in adoration of the Lord’s presence I silence the worries and doubts and place my trust in him. In Pope Francis’ homily for the Easter Vigil, he said, “let us put the Living One at the centre of our lives. Let us ask for the grace not to be carried by the current, the sea of our problems; the grace not to run aground on the shoals of sin or crash on the reefs of discouragement and fear. Let us seek him in all things and above all things. With him, we will rise again.” Freedom from sorrow comes when I trust in the Lord. My joy comes from my faith in God.

Lyrics from a song by Raffi remind me that we don’t need a lot to be happy. “All I really need is a song in my heart, food in my belly, and love in my family.”

Heavenly happiness is in reach at all times. When we are hungry, or lonely, or depressed, “the joy of the Lord is our strength.” We can give God our grief and trust in his undeniable love for us. And we can also cook a mouthwatering chicken dinner.

Lisa Rumpel was recently interviewed by CBC Radio’s On the Coast on the topic of mental health resources, which Rumpel spoke about last month. You can hear the interview with host Gloria Macarenko here as part of Mental Health Week May 6-12, 2019.