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Entering Eastertide: A New Morning

Here we are starting another week in this strange new life. The aspect of this new living that has been so surprising to me is how quickly we have adapted. I now keep masks and masks or some kind of covering for the kids in my car on the rare occasion we drive through to pick something up.

My mornings begin earlier than my children in order to try to get some work done and to try to have an open mind and space to be attentive to their learning and needs for the rest of the morning. My days end later trying to think ahead and get a little more work done while they rest.

So many mornings I am brought back to the mornings of rushing to get everyone ready to get to school and get to the office and the constant strain of hurrying from one place to another. While there are certainly new and different strains, the constant going has left. Over the last three months, I have used only one tank of gas.

As I look at our four-year-old and our fifteen-month-old I often wonder what these months are instilling in them. Maybe that having a sanctuary away from the rest of the world is important? Maybe that work and the way we do work is ever-shifting and actually can be adjusted much more than systems and leadership might like to think? Maybe that time with family is non-negotiable?

I don’t know in what ways this time will ground them and their view of life and what is important, but I know that my mind has shifted. There are so many things I thought I needed that I simply don’t. There are so many things that worried me and kept me up at night that just aren’t worth the energy.

What is important is being refined each new day we discover and create and live together in this new life. I can’t wait to see what day’s revelation will be.

Entering Eastertide: Heron Spotting

Two days in the last week, I have spotted a heron flying overhead. I knew there several herons in the area because we have been swapping wildlife stories with our four-year-old’s teacher and she saw one, too.

During this time of staying at home, I keep waiting for a sign or a revelation, something that would indicate what we are supposed to learn during this time. As if I am saying to Creator God, ok is this the lesson, and can we please move on now? Anyone else like this?

But what if there is not one lesson we are supposed to learn from this? What is there is not one silver lining? What is instead this time has invited us to a way of life and indeed a way of being that is counter to everything we used to do?

All of the running from one place to another and all of the shopping at one store or another? What if instead we are asked to simply be.

As I watched the heron last night from our porch, I was struck by the tranquility. The heron was in no rush to get anywhere. The heron had probably moved from one pond or body of water to the other throughout the day knowing that if there weren’t fish in one, there would be fish in the other.

Maybe in order to fly, we have to just be.

Entering Eastertide: Waking Up

I am always struck that the women go to check the tomb and attend to the body of Jesus “at early dawn.” Just as the world is starting to wake up, they are starting to wake up to the miracle that Christ has risen.

I have to be honest with two young children who often wake up “at early dawn,” I often don’t have my heart and mind ready to receive miracles. Mostly, I am ready just to receive coffee and lots of it!

In the monastic tradition, morning prayers are often uttered before dawn breaks and before you break fast to consume food. The implication here is that the first thing we do when we rise is offer a prayer to realign our minds and hearts to the light of Christ.

O Sun of Justice, Jesus Christ, dispel the darkness in our hearts. Til our blessed light makes nightime flee and brings the joys of day to me.

Perhaps in the midst of these uncertain times, the darkness of the night has followed you into the day. Perhaps the weariness of not enough rest has lingered on your shoulder and in your back all day.

Let us remember to realign our hearts and minds to the light and hope of the Resurrected Christ.

Entering Eastertide: Things Are Different

This morning the four-year-old looked out the window and said, “Mama, things are different now.”

I let his profound statement hang in the air for just a little bit before responding.

“Yeah, they are buddy. What were you thinking about?”

“Well, well, I mean like no with homeschooling and everything is different.”

I wonder sometimes what this little mind will remember from this time. I wonder what he will take with him. Will he take the importance of finding sanctuary in the midst of these uncertain times? Will he take that he really is the one who leads and guides his learning? Will he take with him the idea that you can work from home and be with your family all at the same time?

Or will his memories like so many, disappear as he grows up.

Eastertide allows us to reimagine a new life, a different life. Eastertide allows us to say with certainty, “Everything is different” because Christ is Risen. Even as we are reeling from all the changes in such a short time and as we are reminded that everything is different each and every day, let us cling to the hope of the resurrected Christ.

Entering Eastertide: Pouring Out

Since we have more time in the mornings, I have switched my coffee from a Keurig to a French Press. It takes longer to fix a cup of coffee, but it’s so much better. This is something I have wanted to do for a long time, but there just wasn’t time in the rush of packing lunches, getting clothes on, and getting into the car.

This has been one of my favorite aspects of this new life. There isn’t a morning rush.

Yesterday I was talking to our four-year-old about what his teachers had sent for the day and he said, “It’s ok mom, there’s time.”

There’s time.

Sometimes it seems all there is, is time.

There’s time for a pouring out of freshly brewed french press coffee. There’s time to linger over the breakfast table and lunch table and dinner table. There’s time for one more chapter at night. There’s time for the extra loop on the walk.

For this Eastertide blessing of pouring out and time, thanks be to God.

Entering Eastertide: Dazed and Confused

In the book of Acts the story of the ascension of Jesus goes like this:

So when they had come together, they asked him, “Lord, is this the time when you will restore the kingdom to Israel?” He replied, “It is not for you to know the times or periods that the Father has set by his own authority. But yc; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” When he had said this, as they were watching, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight. 10 While he was going and they were gazing up toward heaven, suddenly two men in white robes stood by them. 11 They said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking up toward heaven? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.”

I love the ending of this passage. The disciples are looking up dazed and confused as to what they have just seen when all of the sudden two figures clothed in white robes ask them why they are looking up. During Eastertide, we follow the stories of Jesus appearing after the resurrection to many different people and then the story ends with the promise of another who will help the disciples tell this story.

If you stop to think about what they have experienced for just a moment, you will realize the disciples are in shock. They have watched their leader whom they have followed for three years be crucified and buried. They have run in fear hoping the authorities decided not to round up those who followed him and give them the same fate. They have waited and grieved and prayed.

Then the stories of the resurrection met their ears. They stood by with hope and then Jesus appeared in their midst as they were gathered together and they celebrated. They rejoiced and wondered what this meant. They listened as he told them the stories of the scriptures.

Then he was gone, taken up in cloud. They gazed up listening and wondering what this all meant and where they were supposed to go from here.  Then they heard the message from the men clothed in white, “Move on, there’s work to do.” So many emotions in such a small amount of time. They were dazed and confused. Not sure really what to do next.

This is a pretty good description of the last six weeks for me as well. The wide range of emotions I have felt from one day to the next often leaves me feeling dazed and confused wondering what to do next, wondering what to feel next, wondering what will come next.

Maybe the promise of Jesus here to his disciples is the same promise for us:

you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you

You will receive power to take that next step, to do the next step and to be the witness of the way God continues to dwell among us.

Come Holy Spirit come. Awaken us again.

Eastertide Grief

I can remember when it was finally time to share that our Eastertide secret pregnancy wasn’t going to be one filled with hope and new life, but grief. I can remember the gasp of joy as I shared with my congregation that we were pregnant and the gasps of grief as I shared that we miscarried.

Since that season, Eastertide will always have a tinge of grief in it. It seems strange for this season (the one where we know that death has been overcome) should be clouded by grief. And yet, maybe this year we know this more truly and more deeply than we ever have before.

We hope and then we see the reminder of the number of people who have lost their lives and hear predictions that those numbers will be even higher.

We find courage and then we see the rate of employment reach records we haven’t seen since the Great Depression.

We find calling and then we see food banks with lines that are two to three hours long and people waiting only to find out that there is not enough food.

Maybe this Eastertide, we lament and grieve together. Maybe our voices can join in crying out “Why, God, why?”

Life and death side by side all through Eastertide.

Maybe life becomes clearer when death is close by.

Maybe life and death residing together draw us closer to the One who has experienced both.

 

 

 

Entering Eastertide: Prisms of Light

As we were coming inside from outside on Sunday evening, our four-year-old exclaimed: “There’s a rainbow in our house.” Sam found it and began to explain that it wasn’t an actual rainbow, but a projection from refracted light (science lesson of the day!).

We caught this picture of it before it disappeared.

Sir Isaac Newtown did some of his best work during a pandemic including working with prisms and writing about refracted light. The more I thought, Eastertide is exactly like this rainbow we discovered in our house. It’s the refracted light from the light of the resurrection displaying colorful new images.

If these weeks at home haven’t felt inspiring or encouraging that’s ok. We are all processing a lot of change and grief all at once. You don’t have to feel inspired or connected at any point.

I have discovered in those moments when I feel most disconnected and disheartened, there are prisms of light that appear whether it’s a rainbow suddenly appearing in our house or a ladybug landing on your hand for just a moment. There are moments where the refracted light of new life and new discoveries appears.

Thanks be to God for those whisperings that pull us back to our centers and remind us of the power of the resurrection.

Entering Eastertide: Tangled Up

Eastertide has always been a jumble of emotions. We bask in the good news that Christ is Risen and yet we know that Christ is about to leave again. It’s a tangle of hope and waiting and wondering.

I don’t know about you, but that’s kind of like life right now. My four-year-old brought me this tangled up compilation of toys asking me if I could get the yoyo out. I looked at it for just a moment before I thought, “Yes. This is what life feels like right now. All tangled up.”

Each day can move so quickly from being calm and present to being scared and anxious. We are living and yet we are also constantly asking ourselves how much longer do we need to live like this. We are hoping for a new life.  A life where there is testing and answers and something resembling our old life at least just a little bit. But we don’t know when that will be and we don’t really know what that will look like.

It’s all tangled up.

When I started trying to free the yoyo, I realized I had to first take out the Santa Claus and then I had to get the stethoscope free. When we start listening to ourselves, our hearts, this is kind of what we find. We start looking for peace and find our fear. We start looking for joy and find our disappointment. We start looking for hope and find helplessness. It can be daunting to try to search ourselves to find the yoyo that has been dictating our days.

This untangling, this time of pulling things out and looking at them is so very important to caring for ourselves and giving our souls time to breathe. Move slowly and gently. We may be tangled up right now, but that tangle is all of us in one place just waiting to be guided to freedom.

Entering Eastertide: Waking Up

I was recently asked by someone if I feel more tired or less tired than when things were opened and we were moving from one place to another. I had to take a minute to think about that. Am I more tired? Is it more difficult to wake up?

More and more we are hearing reports and suggestions that it is time to think about how we are going to continue in this new reality for the next twelve to eighteen months. We are being asked again and again to wake up to this new reality whether we are ready or not.

At our house, this happens pretty often still. With a four-year-old who dreams vividly and a fifteen-month who is teething like crazy, there are many nights and early mornings where my partner or I wake up when we aren’t quite ready to get up yet.

That’s what this feels like to me. It feels like we are waking up to the idea that our way of life has changed, our culture has changed, and the way we raise our children is different. We are waking up, again and again, remembering that nothing is as it was.

We are waking up to the truth that there are healthcare professionals and people who are willing to give their lives to save other people. We are waking up to the very best in humanity and sometimes the very worst.

And while we are waking up, we are discovering how strong and how resilient we are. May God grant us the rest we need when we need it and the peace we need as we wake up again and again.