24 March 2008

Easter 2008

Yesterday was Easter
We didn't go to church
My family aren't church people
And besides
It's hard for Dad to travel
Not because of the cancer
In his head
But because of the steroids
Drugs they gave him
To keep his symptoms at bay
Drugs that make him
Too weak to stand up without help

We didn't go to church
But we did participate in a liturgy
A ceremony called holiday dinner
With ham, and dinner rolls, and pie
With Mom and Dad, Sean and Anna, Tina and me
Around the table
I said grace
And rambled on too long
As I do
Which earned me a "Get on with it"
Gesture from Dad
Which in turn made me think
How much I love him

Our liturgical color was pink
Pink like Mom's Easter table cloth
And placemats
Pink like glazed ham
Like Peeps and jelly beans
Pink like Tina's shoulders
And my forehead
After weeding on Saturday
We all sat at the table
Even though it's easier for Dad
To sit on the stool at the bar
Where he can stand up on his own

After dinner, we drove back home
As Tina napped, I thought
And prayed
And I searched and asked
For new life
I asked God for some resurrection trajectory
When things seemed to be going
The other way
I asked God to teach me to pray
And to show me what to pray for
I asked God to put words in my mouth
Because I didn't know the words myself

So this thought came to me:
You, God, you have such...
And the next word, I thought,
Was supposed to be "power"
But that wasn't the word
The word that came instead
Was "joy"
God, you have such joy...
Joy to share with all of us
Joy that looks like sunlight after winter
Joy that sounds like children's laughter
Joy like the weight of a newborn baby boy
Joy that feels like a friend's embrace

You have pain, too
And so do we
You share in our suffering
And sometimes we share in yours
Sometimes we watch the people we love
Wither and become less
We watch our loved ones, pillars of strength
Become weak
We watch our beloved, who have lived lives of caring
Become those in need of care
We watch like Mary and John
At the foot of the Cross

But your joy is real too
I know this
I know it
Knowing this, I know also
I need to orient my life now
I need to create the conditions
For accessing that joy
And if I access it
I need to pray
Pray for the courage and wisdom
So share it with those I love
Pray for the discernment
To know how to bless

I know it won't look like joy
(Or maybe it will,
Like laughter 'round the dinner table
Like laughter at Tina's frizzy hair
Curled and enlarged by Mom's long-dormant
Beauty culture skills)
Maybe it won't look like joy,
But I know (I know) that your joy is real

1 comment:

Mike Stavlund said...

Amen. This is beautiful, Mike.

(and, *snaps*)