Easter was lovely. It was definitely more than another Sunday with special music and decorations. See, I didn’t get to hear the special music and just peeked at the decorations. I didn’t even get to hear the teaching and yet I‘m full.
But first let me back up to yesterday’s terrible, no good, very bad day. I wrote that post and then, well, the day got worse. I know hard to believe. But it did. Without going into all of the minutiae I’ll say that I have no idea what time I finally went to sleep because I couldn’t stop crying. I know I seem to be crying a lot lately, but crying myself (not) to sleep is rare and generally reserved for more tragic blows. I was so desperate and so tired that I did something I haven’t risked in over two months. I asked Jesus to please speak to me; I needed a concrete comforting thought and a picture. I’ve heard Him once in a while in these last couple of months, but I haven’t actually sought Him out like that. I’ve had my reasons and they’re a big part of why I had to give up anger at God for Lent. Then in the middle of this restless tear filled night, He was there. Scraps of Matthew 11:28-30 drifted through my head along with a picture so clear and instructive that I got up and took out my colored pencils to draw it. This all may sound weird but to me I broke through a wall that had been up around my heart for months; a wall whose purpose was to keep God out or at least contained. And even though I was still sad and shed a few more tears, I slept.
And I woke up feeling like complete and utter crap, at least physically. I was shaking I was so tired (and I’m sure had completely exhausted my adrenal gland.) So I prayed and did the only sensible thing, I went back to bed. After another hour’s slumber I was able to get up and go to church. We had three services today. (Am I boring you? I’m afraid this might be the most boring post ever but I’m too tired to edit. Sorry.) I was teaching 3 & 4 year olds in the third so I planned on attending the second. But it didn’t work out that way. I pretty much just taught the class. Even in that I saw mercy. I didn’t get my Easter commitment until Thursday, after I had devised a menu and a plan. I’d serve/attend in the first two services and then run home and start cooking. When I saw I was scheduled to teach in the third I tried to change it which did not work. On the way to church this morning I marveled at how much kinder and smarter God is than me. No way could I have done either of the earlier services. I’m not even sure I could have safely driven to church. So days before my sucky Dead Saturday, He provided for me.
The kids rocked. My 3 & 4 year olds were hilarious and so high energy. After reading the story to my gaggle of pastel colored Easter Ducklings, I reviewed with the cheerleading jeopardy method which means this entire conversation happens at a small yell. Visualize pom poms.
me: Jesus is…
Easter ducklings: God…
me: And He did what on the cross?
Easter ducklings: died
me: And they put his body into a…
Easter ducklings: tomb
me: And what thing as tall as this room did they put in front of the tomb?
Easter ducklings: a stone
And here is where it get’s interesting.
me: And when they went to the tomb what was in there?
Easter ducklings: Jesus
me: Uhhm, when the stone was rolled away, what was in there? (flapping wings)
Easter ducklings: angels
me: And where was Jesus?
Easter ducklings: gone
me: And why was He gone?
Easter duckling 1: 'Cause the angels took His body away
me: Nooo, why was He gone?
Easter duckling 2: 'Cause He wasn’t dead, they lied.
me: Interesting answer but, no, why was Jesus gone? Because He was a…..
Easter ducklings: LIVE
So I may have needed to review a little more about the actual essential point of Easter but we came a ways from their original answer to “What is Easter all about?”…candy and toys.
After church was probably the best part of my day. I got to spend time with a prodigal child who dropped into her old home to find out what kind of welcome she would receive if she returned. I don’t know what she’ll decide in the next days or months but it was deeply satisfying to spend time with her, listening, encouraging, challenging and praying. I’ve missed my friend.
Finally the rest of the day was spent as I had originally hoped, with my family. It's the last Easter we will all spend together as Grams is moving in just a few weeks. That’s kind of hard to write, but my feelings about this are another post. Suffice to say I enjoyed time with them, especially when my Grams began to tell touching stories of the early days of our family.
So I’m at the end of this particular pilgrimage and the finale was not all bells and whistles. I didn’t explode with happiness or blossom overnight. But I’ve found some things deeper and more lasting. Mercy to cover someone who has unapologetically wounded me with my own acceptance and forgiveness. Grace that provides for my needs before they are needs. Faith to reach out and ask God to speak to me even when I’m afraid that I can’t rightly discern His voice. Hope that even though I see goodbyes ahead, there will also be hellos. Self-control to consistently practice a fast. Truthful eyes that see my own desperate need for the alive Savior. And joy in the journey.