The Day After

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I’m waiting on the resurrection.

Easter happened a little more than two weeks ago. The brass and fanfare, the choruses and lilies all of it giving me that familiar jolt. I was momentarily resuscitated by the promise of life persisting despite death’s clutches. The resurrection as the tenacity of joy, the irresistible power and work of love. The embodiment of hope. I was caught up in it all, and humming Handel’s tunes all day on Monday.

And all around I could feel it. The weather starting to finally turn and the wind blowing sighs of relief throughout the streets. The trees laughing and flowering while crocuses stretch to the sky like children after they wake from an bizarre and rare lengthy sleep. 

The tomb is empty. But, I realize I still am, too. I’m waiting on the resurrection.

I joked with a seminary student that we never stop discerning, but I guess I was serious. I am nearly 38 years old, and I am still seeking out my call. Every day I wonder about my vocation, and what this means as I look at various possibilities and projects in front of me strewn about like all the children’s blocks and Legos and puzzle pieces. It’s paralyzing, sometimes. I want to get a shop vac and clear it all away, and then sit on a bench in a park somewhere and just stare at the sky. But, no. There’s work to do, and responsibilities, and lunches to pack, and where are their damn rain boots? 

Because it’s raining, and these days are dark once again. I drive around in a little bit of a haze knowing that just beyond the rains the sun and heat will scorch the earth, and yes, for sure, though I long for that heat, I will curse the humidity. I catch a glimpse of someone in a dingy camouflage jacket and orange cap late at night pushing a shopping cart full of black garbage bags down Walnut Street. The Interfaith Winter Shelter is done for the season but it still feels like winter hasn’t let go quite yet. I wonder where he will sleep tonight.

After another excruciating attempt at putting the children down for sleep – constant negotiations and the never ending requests for one more apple or one more cup of water or one more story or one more back rub or one more song – I collapse in bed myself. I look at the clock and it’s only 9:30 pm. I will get up one more time to check on them because I love the way they look when they sleep. Desmond sleeps balled up – his body curled and blankets already twisted around and under him as if he had a brief wrestling match with the sheets just before he gave in to sleep. Like Jacob wrestling those nighttime angels except Desmond would wrestle them because he’d assume they stole his superheroes. He is extra vigilant about them at night. Oz sleeps on his side with his mouth open slightly. Cheeks puffed out, and I see those baby days slipping away too quickly. He’s trying to grow up as fast as possible so that he can keep up with the twins. He’s practically there. Anna sleeps on her back with her arms wide open, a posture perfectly expressive of her personality. She takes in the whole world with her whole self. I wait to see their chests rise and fall, and to hear their breathing, and even to see if their eyes will flutter open a little only for a second.

I’m reading the lectionary texts for the Easter season with college students every Monday. Each time I feel a momentary burst of light as though the clouds have moved aside and I’m awash in a warmth that tells me summer really is right around the corner. But I feel the grief and angst of the disciples locked in rooms trying to make sense of the sightings of Jesus. I wonder if each time they see him and touch his wounds if it feels like a reminder of that sun hidden behind the gray. So, like them I want to go back to the former life, what makes sense, and what my mind and body naturally do when I’m trying to sort it all out, fishing for anything that might make sense, but when I pull up the nets they’re empty.

The tomb is empty. I’m waiting on the resurrection.

It’s only the beginning of the Easter season but already the lilies are starting to wilt and the hallelujahs have long faded away. The people are whispering again, Is he really the Messiah? And I am mouthing the same questions, too, even as Jesus responds, I’m here. I’ve got you. 

The day after began two weeks ago and it stretches into the horizon. But, I see the dawn. Though I barely feel the rays beginning to brush my skin, it is enough. It’s enough to keep my heart and arms open, waiting and hoping.

True spirituality is about keeping your heart space open. It is daily, constant work. The temptation is to close down: to judge and dismiss and hate and fear. If you don't have some spiritual practice that keeps your heart open, even in the midst of suffering and 'hell,' it's easy to end up grumpy and filled with fear and negativity. You have to work to live in love, to have a generosity of spirit, a readiness to smile, a willingness to serve. Regularly check in with yourself, asking, 'Is my heart open? Is love flowing from me? Or am I constricted?' ~Richard RohrClick To Tweet

2 thoughts on “The Day After

  • April 11, 2016 at 11:18 am
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    You have described the earthly life of Christians; we live in Saturday–between death and resurrection.

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  • April 11, 2016 at 5:11 pm
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    when something grabs me (in those long moments between being asleep and being awake – I am retired) – I write and give the title “twilit” (Literature from the twilight): little / heart these / hands need

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