It was difficult not to believe in resurrection today. The temperature soared into the 70's and every Christian child in Minnesota with a new Easter outfit actually got to wear it (sans leggings, sweaters, and boots). There was no snow. There was soft rain last night and damp fog this morning. There was green grass and black dirt. There were buds on the trees and there were birds shaking the bushes indignantly when Thisbe came stomping with her Easter basket in hand. There were gold letters splayed across the banners at church and brass instruments braying the familiar hymns and even the most harried mothers sporting heels and dresses with waistlines.
And new life quakes through your small body at an alarming rate. You still can't really move in an orderly fashion but your desire to crawl or walk or do SOMETHING causes you to spasm and twist and and bend and crane. At church your father and I tried to hold you steady but you would not sit still. You wanted to be lifted and jostled. You wanted to flirt with the old lady behind us and squeal at the offering plate. You bend and straighten, bend and straighten, the entirety of your body shouting "life, life, life."
Your sister, too, has become almost manic with the sun. She bounced on her trampoline today with holy fervor, crowed triumphant at every egg discovered, and when we asked her, after the Gospel reading, if she'd heard the ending of the story, she held up the picture of the yak she'd been coloring and said "well maybe but look at THIS."
After church, per your sister's request, we spread a blanket in the backyard and had a picnic of hard boiled eggs and baby oranges and bacon-scallion-cream-cheese-smeared Triscuits and almonds. You ate peach yogurt and plucked at the puffs we placed on the blanket beside you. In the late afternoon we walked to the park; you leaned forward and clutched the front of the stroller, perhaps for the view. Perhaps to feel the vibrations of the pavement in your forearms. Carol and Alvin came for dinner and we ate pulled pork sandwiches and cole slaw and asparagus and sweet potato fries. All the doors were open and the light kept sliding through the room, even after we put you to bed, even as we savored a second glass of wine.
A few weeks ago a man in our town who had recently gone off his anti-depression medications left his house on a Saturday morning and hasn't returned since. A wonderful friend of ours lost his father last weekend to a massive heart attack. There are dear people in our lives who are living with cancer or who are learning to cope with other illnesses. And we said good-bye to people we loved this year, Matteus. We lost Jennifer and Graham and as we sang "And I will raise you up" today I thought of John Paul, and was so sad that you will never meet him. For people who are close to death or to what it means to live inside death right now, I can't imagine that Easter really feels like a "win." There are people we have lost and there are parts of our lives and ways of living that cannot be resurrected. Death may not have the last word, but death does have some words--and those words are powerful and life changing. We all hear those words eventually.
"The light shines in the darkness," we say. "And the darkness has not overcome it." We do not say that the light dispels the darkness entirely. We say that it shines, bravely and unabashedly, in the middle of it.
This year the light of our Easter celebration was only smudged, peripherally, by darkness. But that will not always be the case. I am grateful for this day. It was beautiful. Not even death can change that.
|I like this one because you're clutching a handful of your sister's hair.|
|I like this one because we're all kind of a mess but your gaze is captured perfectly.|