Sunday, April 08, 2007

If we begin with certainties, we will end with doubt. But if we begin with doubts and bear them patiently, we may end in certainty. (Francis Bacon)

He is Risen!
He is Risen, indeed!

Somehow, it's not Easter until I've heard those words. I remember one Easter, I might have been nine, my mother creeping into my room to wake me up for the sunrise service, and whispering in my ear, "He is Risen!" I remember feeling so loved at that moment, by my mother, and by God.

I'm actually wielding the cell phone now. My father didn't even answer the phone with "Happy Easter." My mother wanted to nail down the plans concerning my dad's 65th birthday trip (in June). I said, "don't you have to go off to choir?"

Oh brother, I'm becoming a grouch, in my age.

I remember Easter morning sunrise services. On the terrace of a park across the street from the Union Church of Tegucigalpa. Oh, the sunrise on the hills. I remember sunrise services at my grandmother's church in Washington, New Jersey, Pastor Farr would greet the morning at a small hilltop graveyard with his trumpet.

I remember eggs--decorating them, blowing them out, making Easter egg trees. My parents have the darlingest set of rabbits, with wheelbarrows and such, getting ready for Easter. I remember when they bought them, when I was a girl in Germany.

I have no memories of Lent until I moved to Pittsburgh, this town of Catholics and Presbyterians. But my second year at Carlow was Lou Mitchell's first Easter at Bellefield and having been raised Catholic, he did Lent with a vengeance. Every Sunday was to prepare us more. "Dying to self" was the big theme. I think Cornerstone one of those years had a sunrise service.

But as an adult, life seems so much more about Lent and so much less about Easter. I don't even have a new dress this year (although I did get my hair cut, and yesterday I got a manicure.) I have not decorated any eggs, and I got my "Easter basket" (a canvas bag filled with Easter grass and some very nice chocolate) on Monday from my mother. I ate some of the chocolate last night. I went to a friend's in the evening, after a long, fruitful, but hard day at work. The manicure was an afterthought--when I called Kelly at five to say I was done, she fretted, saying she still had to paint a second layer. "I'll come over at seven, then?" So I took a back road that I thought would take me to the mall and it did! and got three types of chicken samples at the food court at the mall before I went to get a manicure. The place I go is run by women who hardly speak English and I feel like a manicure is such a personal thing, I wanted to be able to talk to the woman who was massaging my hands, cutting my cuticles. When I paid, I told her I liked her necklace and her face lit up with a huge smile.

So I went home, ate the chocolate that a co-worker had put in my cubby, and with no hammer in sight, stomped on the chocolate egg my mom had given me. I wish I had a "before" picture. All I have now is shards of clear plastic on my kitchen floor and the chocolates. They are very good. I can't remember the brand name--Roche? Anyways, delicious.

Then I drove to Kelly's and my car did autopilot so I was sort of lost. When I got there, she was still painting, so I ate pizza while she painted and then I finished The Solomon Sisters Wise Up, sitting in the other room to let her paint with more speed. Around 9, we put in the DVD and she prayed for us. The Passion is a movie that requires prayer before it, and apparently, I could not tarry even for an hour--at the point at which Simon was helping Jesus with the cross, Kelly was saying, wake up, Sarah Louise, you can't be asleep, I need you to watch this with me! I'm awake, I mumbled. It took a few more minutes for me to sit up fully. What a hard movie to watch. I hardly remembered it, as when I saw it two years ago in the theatre, I spent half the time looking away.

When it was over, all I wanted to do was get back to sleep, in my bed, at home. So I drove into the night and of course by the time I'd brushed my teeth and changed into my nightgown, I was awake enough. So I started a book from the library about a woman who finds out her husband is having an affair when she picks up one of the phone extensions at their house. I read until the words swam.

So it's Easter.

Right now my CD has cycled around to the last song, "What if I fall" by the now broken-up Christian boy band DC Talk. I've listened to that song a lot this week, thinking about Jesus falling at least three times on the way to Golgotha. (Calvary sounds too white, too pure, for the bloody mess we watched last night on Kelly's TV screen.) What if I stumble, what if I fall? Jesus did. He was a man like us, without sin, but he fell. In his last hours, he died a worse death than most of us can imagine, and showed us how to live.

Crap, can you hear the religious sentiment in that last sentence? How do you tell the story of Jesus dying on a cross so that it makes people understand WHY he did it?

I sit here, at my computer, looking at my desk. One of my "Fabulous Broads" quotes from last year's calendar hangs on my desk: "Send me flowers while I'm alive. They won't do me a damn bit of good after I'm dead." (Joan Crawford)

The last time I went to a sunrise service was 1998. I was very depressed, but my parents had insisted I come home for Easter. My grandmother was there, in her wheelchair, and we went to the Lincoln Memorial, by the Reflecting Pool. It was cold. That is all I remember. My parents went this morning and my mom said it was even colder today, below freezing.

Another quote, above my computer screen: "I don't know how to fight. All I know is how to stay alive." (Alice Walker)

I have been fighting this year. Fighting to stay healthy, amid colds and colds and colds. Fighting to get...

...past the doubts? Into the certainty? I don't know if my sneezes are allergies or a cold. Allergies, I hope, since I'll be sharing Easter dinner with the Creasy's and I don't want to infect any of them.

It's cold outside. I have no idea what I'm wearing to church--in the last warm spell, I got rid of three winter dresses that I rarely wear, but that means that the one I have now that's clean is brown, not really an Easter color. Plus, it's short, so I would have to find nylons or tights that are clean.

I'm not feeling the Easter, y'all.

And I want to end with some pithy phrase, like, "and that's not the point." But I can't. Because I'm still living in the doubts. Easter morning is here, but I'm still in...

...hold the phone, I just got a text message from Pete! "Christ the Lord has risen today! Alleluia! Happy Easter! Yours, Pete." And I sent him one back: "Back at ya he is risen indeed sarah louise" (Can you tell which one of us is more adept at text messaging?)

So, wherever you are, whatever state this finds you in, Happy Easter. Because Friday's over, it's Sunday!!


pajaro said...

He is risen, indeed!

paula said...

I have alway s felt the way to appreciate the sacrifice is to try to find the joy in life, and be thankful for it.

Wishing you joy and a lovely Easter!

weirdbunny said...

I don't hink that sunrise services are very common in the UK. We didn't even get to church this morning ! - JUlia x