Dreaming Of A Personal Resurrection

Judith Valente
4 min readApr 7, 2024
In this representation of the empty tomb of Jesus, a round stone is rolled away from an open door of what appears to be a tomb hewed out of stone.
The empty tomb of Easter can also represent the repository for those habits and attitudes we need to leave behind us in order to move on to new life.

Ever since childhood I have experienced vivid dreams. Some defy interpretation, but others helped me to gain insight into something that was transpiring in my life at the time.

I recently awoke from a dream with this question on my mind: “I haven’t wasted my life, have I?” It was the question I had been pondering in my dream. That’s not to say I haven’t wondered at times even in a waking state whether I have done enough with my life, whether I’ve missed opportunities, or worse, botched them. Still, I asked, why this question, and why now?

My dream might be connected somehow to the Easter narrative. Last week, I scrolled through a number of images of the Resurrection. I was struck by those that depicted an empty tomb. Often the inside of the tomb was shrouded in shadow, while the outside glowed with sunlight. My favorite image, though, showed Jesus standing upright, bathed in white light, leaving behind his tomb after breaking through a stone wall.

I reflected for a long time on those images of empty tombs, that broken wall. The tomb began to represent for me not so much emptiness and shadow as a place to leave behind those parts of myself that no longer serve me well. I imagined the tomb as a resting place for negative self-talk, for the grudges, regrets, and disappointments that inevitably mark a life.

The Resurrection is about turning a page toward life as it has not existed before. Scripture shows that after the Resurrection, nothing remains the same — not for Jesus, not for Mary Magdalene and the other apostles, not for Judas, not for the Romans, not for the Jews and not for many of Jesus’ previously erstwhile followers. Life doesn’t have to remain static for us either.

I feel fortunate to live in the northern hemisphere where the liturgical season of Easter coincides with the meteorological season of spring. All you have to do is open your eyes to see the earth brimming with fresh life. In my own front yard, purple squill and yellow dandelion flowers are popping up all over. The jonquils, crocuses and daffodils have opened in the back garden. Robins have returned and the cardinals are once again singing their hearts out on the boughs of our backyard elm.

Purple and white spring wildflowers in a bed of grass and ferns.
Spring flowers remind us that the earth renews itself each year. We can too.

These signs of springtime rebirth fill me hope that I too can refresh the way I live and cast off old emotional weights. I have to remember, though, that change of this kind — interior change — takes time. Even those spring flowers spent a winter gestating. The gospels record eight appearances by Jesus following his crucifixion before his disciples finally get it — that maybe Jesus really isn’t dead after all. Eight!

Singer-songwriter Carrie Newcomer has a wonderful song called “It Starts with A Stone.” Carrie’s beautiful lyrics remind us that change usually begins with a single step, a single object, even a single word.

… I know it, I feel it
Like the laying of hands
And suddenly somehow
My whole world expands
My vision clear
The circle complete
All that I needed
Was right here at my feet
Start with a stone
The humblest of things
From this relic of bedrock Eternity springs
Go back to the source
Go back to your home
Heaven is waiting

But start with a stone …

In the coming weeks, I’ll be reflecting on those habits and attitudes I need to leave behind in an empty tomb. I will press my shoulders against the stone walls that keep me from seeing light and being light for others and for myself.

What thoughts, habits, attitudes do you need to leave behind? Where do you see the light? What newness is aching to grow inside of you?

Then, when we ask ourselves whether or not we have wasted our lives, may the answer for all of us be, “Heck NO!”

A depiction of the Resurrection in which Jesus, bathed in light, breaks through a stone wall.
This image of the Resurrection with Jesus bathed in light and breaking through a stone wall suggests we too can crack the walls that keep us locked in negative habits and attitudes.



Judith Valente

Author of 4 spirituality books & 2 poetry collections. Award-winning reporter for Wall Street Journal, PBS-TV, Washington Post & 2 IL public radio stations.