Ever since napalm was suddenly dropped on my very orderly and contented life last June 16, I'd known this holiday was coming.
Easter. It was " our" holiday. The one we really celebrated with joy and presents and the realization that Easter is what it's all about; what WE were all about. We were Easter people; aware of God's grace in this life, and the promise of the resurrection in the next. Because of Glenn's calling and my upbringing, I've always done the whole Lenten, Good Friday watch and that would make Easter morning all the more special. As many Christians proclaim on Easter morning, "He is Risen...The Lord is risen indeed", so did we start the day every year with that proclamation as we awoke.
I didn't do the journey this year. I just didn't have it in me. But, I knew I would be in an Episcopal church this morning, with renewed knowledge of what it means to be an Easter person. And the one I attended this year has special meaning to me. You see, my son Chris was always the church kid in our family; proud of Glenn's vocation and active in many diocesan youth programs. When he went to college, he majored in history and religion, and essentially scholarized himself out of a belief system. When Glenn died, he told me that he realized that that part of his life, which had once been so important to him, was missing. He intended to find an Episcopal church, where he could be comfortable. He made sure I knew he had no plans to go every Sunday or join the Vestry and that he still isn't "touchy-feely about it." At the time, I chuckled, thinking it was a reaction to his grief. But, he did it. He did his research and found a beautiful church home where the clergy are young and of his ultra-liberal ethos, and where he and Rianna are both comfortable and are now members. So, although my sojourn as clergy spouse is done, I do have a wonderful place to worship with my family on occasion. Grace and promise. Being an Easter person.
The Reverend Jered Weber-Johnson ( you know he's young ...his name is Jered...and he hyphenates his wife's name and his:)) preached about being "Easter people in a Good Friday world." Wow. That so spoke to me. I've had a Good Friday YEAR.
There was a wonderful article in a recent issue of The New York Times by David Brooks. He reflected on suffering, and the article was quoted in the sermon today as well. He says in it that often when people emerge from suffering, they are not healed completely; they are just different.
There is truth in that. I am not the same person I was ten months ago. Glenn's sudden traumatic death, and my mother's recent death were defining moments of grief and sadness in my life. They left scars.
But he went on to say in his sermon, that although the wounds may still be visible, they do not have to define us; that by the knowledge that there is grace in this life and the next, through the risen Christ, we can have hope.
My wounds are still there. Visible in my tears sometimes. But, being an Easter person , I know that I am also stronger, more aware, more grateful for the people in my life who I love, and full of promise and hope for the future. And assured of the next one.
Remaining an Easter person.
On the journey.