Sunday, April 24, 2011

Easter, and Easter's coming

There is something more and more elusive about these Holidays as time goes by. I'm sure that's a humorous statement. Truly though -- even as the steps towards Easter become more clear and predictable, the final burst of light can't be contained, the experience is fading almost before it is consciously registered. Warm, golden days like today, appearing almost magically from behind the parting curtains of Good Friday's blustery gloom, add to the effect.

The long wait for sure signs of Spring echoes the feeling around church and worklife this time last year -- the nerves thinned beyond taut to numbness, the banal side by side with the ludicrous. But last year's spring weather was generous, hot even -- we were watching and waiting for a different set of signs. Real estate deals hinged upon financing schemes, hinged upon capacity to formulate and justify ourselves in a shell-shocked lending climate. Triangulation over triangulation, relationships in every corner taking on the tone of power-struggle and gamesmanship. And in the midst of all that, Lent, then Holy Week, then our last Easter on the old home turf before breaking camp and once again hauling our tents to the next meetin' place.

This year, our first Easter at Grace Center, was of course some measure of our reward for all that waiting -- which may be why I felt, not let down, but ambivalent, after worship today. Staff duties have doubled and tripled, we've taken a pay cut, and Holy Week means three bulletins for worship, three sets of liturgical considerations, three significant sets of goals, three sermons... leading into the most important day of the church year, and all of that layered upon more than enough other work to distract us from the chilly overcast skies and the general lack of sleep. Plus school breaks, family logistics, emotional challenges and blah blah blah. What, you mean life doesn't stop for the Resurrection?? Ha ha.

The Resurrection is, as Sara Miles has said, something that can be perceived only fleetingly out of the corner of one's mind before the gates of rationality slam down and blot out the sight. And that's on a good day! CHRIST IS RISEN! We say it again and again during the service, during the Gathering and the Word and the Sending. Christ is risen! He is risen indeed. Alleluia! Because we have to say it over and over to ourselves, to keep the miracle firmly framed. Monks pray continuously in their yearning for Christ. I want to splash the water from the font over my face and hair -- want to bite into a large, fragrant chunk of the Body, the bread -- want to wash it down with a bracing shot of the Blood, the wine, the salvation. Give it to me first thing in the morning, before I'm even fully awake, and perhaps then the Spirit will find me open and eager instead of distracted and fragmented and cross. I wanted Easter to really sink in. But I'm not the ready, fertile soil I'd like to be; I didn't prepare. So we wait. The church has two seasons, Easter, and Easter's coming.

Show me the nail holes in your hands, and your feet, and let me push my fingers into the wound in your side -- then I will believe. 

Monday, April 4, 2011

the waiting

Spring. I've had my hair dyed to include several artful orangy-red streaks through my bangs and at the back of my neck. I'm ready.

The week before last, the week my son had Spring Break, the week of the Supermoon...which I didn't see due to overcast skies, March in Minnesota always so unreliable... that week, I couldn't get my brain to stay on track. I was foggy, spacey, in a state of abstraction much like the hormonal empty-headedness I experienced in my first few months of pregnancy. Work barely got done, between this and my altered schedule due to childcare. Plus we all ticked over into Daylight Savings time, and got terrible sleep for a week as the result. A useless, kerflummoxed sort of week.
This was followed by the week of Chaos and Conflict, Madness and Martinis. With a little PMS thrown in for good measure. I struggled with my spouse all week. I kept a good and respected friend waiting for me at lunch for nearly an hour before I realized I was standing her up (something I NEVER do to people.) At work I tried to prep for two large projects/events while fielding questions and concerns about a third (big demolition effort inside the building last week, prepping for renovations this summer.) I signed off on two new tenants, delivered a rent increase and new lease to a third, ran out of food at the food shelf and had to close the doors randomly between donations. I was blessed and blasted last week. Nearly cried a number of times, and finally broke down at the end.

But I dyed my hair orange in defiance. I tried to counsel and support a good friend who is really suffering right now. I drank too much, and tried to behave in a calm, grateful manner at least some of the time. I worked in a couple bike rides. I cornered an accordion player at the grand opening of a local library and convinced him to play at a food shelf fundraiser that same afternoon. I read to my son a goodly amount. I bought a bunch of new underthings. I drew in my present sketchbook, in great detail, in homage to Japan and its tsunami survivors and those who perished.

Spring will come. I'm ready.