It is evening of Easter Sunday. The brisk wind that blew in a cloudless sky has finally died down and children who hunted Easter baskets are settled in from their candy induced sugar highs. I have cleaned up the remnants of baked ham and cheese potatoes; my Midwest answer to mac and cheese. Put cheese and potatoes together and everyone north of the Mason-Dixon is happy. The angel food cake, plain white with plain whipped cream is gone and several pots of coffee consumed, the pot now cold awaiting its Monday morning reawakening.
On Maundy Thursday of last week, the world seemed to be hurling its best shots at my head, and I bowed to the weight of the world or so I thought. I buckled and as I have many times this last year, felt myself falling off that cliff. But I survived the night and somehow on Good Friday, a day of somber reflection, I took to heart a suggestion to pray for only the thing I could handle on that day or the thing I needed help with. I did it and decided to put everything else away until after Easter and concentrate on this time that is the reason we are Christians. To reflect, and be somber and be patient and on this morning be joyous. He is Risen, He is Risen indeed. The phrase is one we proclaim every Easter and never has it been more important to me.
I attended Good Friday service with my mother at my former church as I have done for many years. I go mainly for the tradition of their service that has a special Good Friday hymn played at the end of the service every year. Throughout this song, the church bell is rung. I often wonder what it must sound like outside, and wish every nice Good Friday we could go outside and sing and listen to our bell proclaiming, "We Give Thanks to Thee". I can hardly get through the song any longer, it has come to be so important to me, and have to steel myself not to sob out loud, and be "one of those people". My quiet, small mother always grounds me and the service has become something we do together. After the service, I dropped Mom at her house and went home to get the house "ready".
You see, we were having a cookout at my house that afternoon, late afternoon or early evening, however you wanted to figure it. Korey wanted to get everyone together one last time before they returned to New York on Saturday. Jen's parents and her brother Jason were coming, along with Alison, Ryan and Luca. We also invited Darci and Gary, Alison's parents. It would be a house full built around an expensive tenderloin, grilled to perfection by Korey and Kurt. I wasn't sure how I felt about this last party. Maybe it was knowing Baby Girl Vittoria, who brightened my week was going back home. Having her here was an unexpected surprise and treat brought about by the sadness in the death of Jen's grandma. Vittoria delighted all of us in every way and just seeing Korey with her and how good he was, made things in my jumbled world seem right. She was happy in a way that being secure and knowing she was loved by two good parents, makes a child. I looked forward to seeing her and Luca together and having doting grandparents all around, but knew it was saying goodbye again.
With my new Maundy Thursday resolution, I decided to just enjoy the party. I did and had a wonderful time. It was a relaxed affair with lots of beer and lots of laughter and good food. It was the kind of get together I remember from long ago, and it made me smile that we can still create good memories. I said good bye to Korey and his Jen, and their beautiful, funny Vittoria, who just made me smile and smile. I miss her but I am so grateful for having this unexpected time with her.
Saturday dawned sunny and it turned into almost the perfect spring day in April. We ran a few short errands that turned into a leisurely three hours of running into old friends every where we went and just catching up on each others lives. Its one of the perks of finally submitting to heading to the Golden years, life slows to a pace where its a walk not a sprint any longer. And somehow you're okay with it.
When we got back, we worked around the house. On such a day, it was just the right thing for us to do.
Sunrise service today. The familiar songs and the familiar message, but one that never grows old. "I know that my Redeemer lives", accompanied by a choir above us that reminded me of angels singing overhead. A joyous conclusion to a joyous service. Back home and dinner with our smaller family now, but no less special. And an afternoon of remembering how blessed we are. Much is wrong with us and much is wrong with us, as a Nation, but we are still blessed and sometimes we just need to be reminded of all we have.
For one weekend, I gave it up and chose to rely on my Faith and to let the worries go. It felt good. Tomorrow I will be back to everyday life, but I will be different, if only a bit. Different and a bit better.
A blessed Easter to you all.