24 March 2008

Easter Questions

It was an Easter weekend to remember.

It was Elijah's first. Since he belongs to both families, on Saturday we spent the afternoon and evening celebrating at Shan's parents, with the traditional Saturday Hamburger. Sunday was spent with my folks, trying to keep my nephews from squishing their new cousin in their excitement. They just can't wait for the day when he can hold his own against them. Eli took his first Easter in stride, sleeping on Grandpas and Grandmas, spitting up on aunts, and all over his first Easter outfit. Grand traditions indeed!

Easter is supposed to be a time of celebration, of springing into new life. Interesting how the ancient pagan religions all celebrated Easter without knowing why. The cold tomb of winter has been opened, and the warmth of Spring has resurrected all it touches: new grass to mow, new flowers to sprout, new baby doves to hatch.

This celebration of New Life is preceded by Lent, a time to contemplate life, to contemplate death, and to contemplate what that means in our life. To seek direction, to seek peace, to seek the Resurrection.

With an infant son at home, there is not much time to contemplate anything. Not much spare time to seek direction or peace. Not much time to look for a Resurrection.

We kinda have to do it all at once. We concentrate it, into two or three hour periods while there is a nap happening.

And so it happened, Sunday evening, from about 9:00 or so until we went to bed, that my wife and I celebrated Lent, Good Friday, Holy Saturday, and Easter Sunday.

Our celebration did not follow the normal pattern. We began by celebrating Good Friday: Do we really have to do this? Is there no other way? This is going to be awful! This is not worth it.

As the sun set on our lament, we began our celebration of Saturday. Now what? We asked. It happened. We are in this situation now. What do we do? Our lives have changed forever. Do we like the change? Can we deal with the change? How do we deal with the change? The despair of Friday gave way to the limbo of Saturday: Do we receive the gift He has given us by allowing everyone else to raise him while we work? Is that right? Is that a way to be thankful? Can we still be good parents and be gone all day? Can we be the parents Elijah was meant to have if we both are out of the house full time? Can we still give our children our best love and care when we're both tired? Do we stay here and look to the day when we can pay off our mortgage and not be forced to work like we do? Or do we plunge headlong into absurdity, walking away from our American Dream for something more affordable?

The darkness of our limbo is stifling. We cannot see anything. No clear path, no stunning example is there for us to examine. Only the darkness.

But then, as the last vestige of hope fails, there is a light. A sliver, a tiny shaft pierces the blackness of our hearts. The stone is rolling away! Our hope reawakens, strong and bold. We reach for it, not daring to believe it will support us, yet not daring to fully abandon it. Daylight floods our tomb as we continue to reach for the hope of God.

The stone is fully away now, and we blink as we step out into the brilliant, dazzling daylight. We still cannot see the path in front of us. We do not know where it will lead, what will happen. But we do know this: Our God works for the redemption and resurrection of all His Creation. That is our hope.

Because Easter Sunday is about hope. The Resurrection is about hope.

Things will get better.


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