While they were still talking about this, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.” They were startled and frightened, thinking they saw a ghost. (Luke 24:36-37)

This was part of our Sunday school lesson yesterday. Jesus has appeared alive after being crucified; now the disciples are holed up in a room talking about it. Our teacher yesterday described how all of the disciples must have felt at this time. They all had betrayed Jesus in one way or the other by not speaking up.

That was about as far as I could listen before my throat started getting thick and my bottom lip began quivering. These end parts of the Gospels hit too close to home for me. Yesterday, I gathered up my belongings and said with that voice I hate that’s all quivery and weak, “I apologize, this is just too hard.”

Last week, I left early, too, only I didn’t apologize because last week I tried to push everything down and pretend I was fine. That resulted in having a full-assed panic attack right there in the middle of the Sunday school class. I ran out with the church’s bible still in my hand. Afterward, I was embarrassed and thought myself a drama queen.

The above verses are a guilt trigger for me. I know exactly how they felt—they blamed themselves. I don’t think about failing Jesus when I study that passage. I think about how I failed my father who killed himself seventeen years ago. I still suffer from the guilt of not understanding how depressed he was, not insisting that he get help, not doing something. I think there is terror in that kind of guilt because it digs in like a diseased tick.

I am glad I went to church yesterday and heard this verse. Even though it hurt like all hell, I learned something. I’m triggered by feeling like a disciple, and not by the resurrection of Christ, which is what Easter is all about, that Jesus died and came back. Jesus was human and is God as well. It is complicated, and it is simple. Jesus isn’t my dad. My dad isn’t a God. Maybe I can work on untangling them in my mind now.

The death of someone I love cracked a hole in my heart and my soul. Stuff gets jumbled up. My dad killed himself just a week or two after Easter. I fear that holiday and the days afterward when disciples feel so guilty.

Yesterday, I also heard that Jesus said “peace be with you” to his miserable and frightened followers.

Therefore do not let anyone [I think includes myself] judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day. (Colossians 2:16)

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