I have been a little grumpy this week.
Try as I might, I haven’t been able to wrangle these kids together for two minutes to let Easter sink into our hearts.
Grace has been babysitting three darling girls, spilling into the house, spilling out again, (and we have LOVED it, having our house filled up with those sweet little voices again, watching Grace as the sweetest little “mother hen”). Claire has been finalizing college decisions, talking to college coaches, making big decisions, and writing a joint essay with classmates on plastic pollution in between stuff like powderpuff practices and mission call openings. Both girls have been working on college orientations and trying to find college housing and available college classes. Lucy has been plugging away trying to learn The Giver on the piano, trying to keep up with her emotions (you can almost see that little heart mustering energy to wrap it’s way around life and where it is taking her), and she’s had some big MCO practices with the concert coming up next weekend. Dave has been in Utah for some work meetings (and soaking up Max & Abby up there), and Elle and Carson get to be in NYC with my brothers (celebrating their anniversary).
Of course, those big kids couldn’t be with us for Easter prep anyway, but I still want to wrap my mother-heart around them. Sometimes it feels like we are so spread out.
All the while I have been scribbling down Easter notes, trying to fit in all the events of Holy week into my heart, wracking my brain as to how to help infiltrate all this goodness into my children.
The Good News.
The passion of Christ.
The horror and exquisite pain of “Good Friday” interwoven into the exquisite joy of the resurrection.
The reminder of the last supper, the agony on the cross, the glory of new beginnings at that empty tomb.
I had grand plans that we would do our family “passover meal,” to make our devotionals more intentional, try to understand the significance of this Holy Week as our appreciation deepens.
And we did do some of that, in haphazard segments.
But I was grumpy that it wasn’t coming together the way I envisioned. I was frustrated we were too busy to make time for the most important things.
And mostly, I realized laying in bed discussing one night with Dave, I was sad time is marching on so relentlessly.
But last night I realized (once again), that the Easter spirit doesn’t have to be some big plan scrawled out in notes after all. We were all coming from different directions to be together for Claire’s patriarchal blessing and the spirit hit us all like a ton of bricks.
It was as if God was whispering calm to us.
And somehow in that whispering I realized this week doesn’t need to be prescribed.
It doesn’t even need to be focused on that Holy Week long ago (although I LOVE that).
Because isn’t Easter to remind us that He Lives?
“His hand is stretched out still.” (Isaiah)
He will find that one lost sheep.
Yes, there will be sorrows. Sometimes unspeakable ones.
But He is with us in those sorrows.
He is with us in our pain.
He knows about breakups and heartbreaks and loneliness. He knows about hand-wringing worries and sleepless nights when the baby won’t stop crying. He knows about insecurities and darkness and doubts. He even knows about the trivial things like how I had grand plans for Easter week that didn’t quite work out.
He wants to be invited into the mess with us.
Because He’s already gone there.
When He washed those disciple’s feet, we can imagine that He would wash ours too.
When He was in that Garden of Gethsemane, it was for us.
When he was lifeless on that cross, it was, again, for us.
I love this last, gruesomely sad painting by Brian Kershisnik, maybe more endeared because of what he said about it in an interview:
“It is very hard for us now to read about the events surrounding Jesus’ torture and death without the pain of it being diluted by the universal spoiler alert of the fabulous conclusion of the gospel narrative. But they who went through it didn’t know it would turn out, not just “ok”, but unspeakably gloriously. They labored over his lifeless body with no notion at all that this was going to work out well. Their hopes were dashed and there was nothing for it but to provide as appropriate a burial as could be arranged. There was sad work to be done and endured.
“This moment in the narrative is important because of the time we ourselves spend on the “Friday” of our experience with no notion of how the “Sunday” ever can break through it.”
Sometimes we, just like those people mourning in that painting, don’t know (or can’t believe) that it will turn out. Whether “it” is pain or misery or discomfort or anger and hurt. We sometimes have a hard time believing it will all be “not just ‘ok,’ but unspeakably gloriously.”
But last night, in the midst of my family, together we were reminded more poignantly than any devotional or Easter story I could give, that CHRIST LIVES.
He who was once dead:
More on that family experience on Monday, since Friday is almost over and I am out of time.
But I’ll leave you with this favorite Good Friday quote:
Sending on over so much love to everyone I know who is wrapped up in their “Fridays” with this reminder: Sunday will come.
Yes, Sunday will come.