Easter Morning

In the stillness of morning, I often find a certain clarity of mind that tends to become more elusive as the day unfolds.  When springtime days finally warm up, I return to the glider on the screened-in porch for morning prayer and coffee.  This is an integral part of my day, as I am alone with my thoughts, the readings of the day, and the LORD.  Other than an occasional car driving by in the before-dawn springtime mist, the only sounds I hear are the birds chirping and the squirrels scampering about.  It is one of the few parts of the day when I have learned to just be still.

In imagining what that first Easter morning when Mary Magdalene, Mary, the mother of James, and Salome encountered the angel in Jesus’ otherwise empty tomb, I envision a similar placidity. Of course, once the angel explains that Jesus is not there, but has indeed risen from the dead, there is no more stillness.  A flurry of activity begins to take place as the women go and tell the disciples the news, all the while struggling to understand what has taken place.

Are we not, in many ways, like the women who encountered the empty tomb on that very first Easter?  Once we encounter the risen Christ after the events of Holy Thursday and Good Friday, our hearts are lifted even though much of the Resurrection remains a mystery to us.  This amazing act of love by God for us, through the dying and rising of God’s only son, Jesus, causes our hearts to rejoice and share the Good News with everyone we meet!   Alleluia!  He is risen!

In the stillness of the morning, in the days and weeks that will follow Easter, I hope to keep seeking conversation with the LORD, and ponder the miracle of Christ’s resurrection.  Mary Magdalene, Mary, the mother of James, and Salome’s lives were changed that morning in the empty tomb.  How will you live today as a recipient of this wonderful gift?  How will you keep the joy of Easter in your heart?  Happy Easter, Friends!

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Reflections at the Car Wash

I’m going to share with you something that has never been put in print before.  When I was small, I was deathly afraid of two things:  garbage trucks and automatic car washes.  I am assuming it was because both made loud noises, but I am not sure.  Family members tell me I would scream and cry whenever I encountered either.  Decades later, I’ve grown out of those fears, for the most part, but I still don’t enjoy driving through the car wash.

Recently, my salt-encrusted car was crying out for a wash, so I found myself at our local automatic car wash, waiting for the cycle to begin.  During the next few minutes, I thought about how many fears we learn to overcome as we grow up.  While every one of us has a different story to tell, don’t we all have moments of suffering and moments of joy?  Our stories have a common ingredient in that we often must let go of one thing to gain something else.  Easier said than done, right?  To let go, we must TRUST that everything will eventually work out.  Like I said, not an easy thing to do.

The observances of Holy Week and the entire Easter season that unfolds over the next seven weeks provide countless reminders that we don’t have to face our fears alone.  What we take to the Cross each day is also carried by our LORD.  Our risen LORD continues to grieve with us when we grieve and rejoices with us when we are rejoicing.  We trust that we never walk alone in our suffering.  We also have been gifted with a community of friends and family to walk with us along life’s journey.

May the events of Holy Week and the Easter Season sustain us in the days and weeks ahead.  Let’s not be in a hurry to put all the Easter decorations away and move on to the next big thing in our lives.  This year, let’s truly be an Easter people and TRUST that our sorrows will be washed away and replaced with rejoicing.  This year, let Easter linger in our hearts a little while longer.  “This is the day the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad.” (Psalm 118)

 

 

 

A Good Day

I know it is going to be a good day.  Not perfect, but it will be okay.  How do I know this?  Because this morning my heart is beating, and I have breath. I have some minor aches and pains, but I am able to move about freely.  There was coffee in the kitchen and the dog and I enjoyed a piece of toast together.  There was no snow to brush off the car and the sun is shining.  I can see buds on the trees even though we have more snow on the way.  Spring is coming.

Lately my thoughts rush ahead to our kids’ upcoming weddings and our daughter’s approaching high school graduation and departure for college.  I have developed the annoying habit of announcing to my husband, “She will be leaving in only five more months,” as if I have a running clock going in my head all the time, which I am beginning to believe is likely.  I must force myself to stop and live in today’s present, not jumping ahead to what may or may not be in the days ahead.

My re-set button is found in the first cup of coffee and some time spent with the Daily Readings.  After my husband kisses me good-bye, I settle in on the old, beat-up couch in the family room to see what I can glean from the Old Testament, the Psalm and today’s Gospel.  I often think about the events of the day before and am reminded of how God was present yesterday in all that happened, and God is present in the here and now.  And that makes me pause for a moment, and just stop and say, Thank you, LORD. 

Even though I have no idea what events may come about today, I trust in the LORD, my protector and guide, to accompany me.  And for that alone, I know it is going to be A Good Day.  I wish you a good day, too!

 

On the Journey

If you were to compare your current self now to the person you were perhaps ten years ago, what would you say are some areas in your personality where you have changed?  And what remains the same?  If you’ve lived as long as I have, you may look back twenty, twenty-five, or thirty years or more!  While I cannot speak for anyone else, I have found that through the years, my once rigid, all-or-nothing approach to life has evolved into something that’s a little more open, more accepting, and less judgmental.  I also know that none of this has happened overnight, and I have a very long way to go.  Each time life has thrown a curve ball, I’ve had to step back and evaluate who I am and where I am going.  I’ve had to learn to accept help from others at times and to realize that asking for help does not mean one is weak.  I have also learned to say I’m sorry when I am wrong and that most often, relationships themselves are much more important than winning an argument.

As the words to a church hymn we sang recently say, most of the time I have “one foot in Paradise and one foot in the waste.”  Being a beloved child of God is not for the weary, my friends!  If you are like me, perhaps you have learned that there are parts of your personality that still need some work.  Sometimes I wonder how my family puts up with all my quirks and moodiness!  It seems like many days I have our LORD on speed dial, asking for understanding.  There’s so much about human nature I just don’t get, yet I believe if I can learn more about other people, I can love them better as my sisters and brothers in Christ.  Perhaps the greatest life lesson has been to remember that none of this is about me.  When I was baptized, I was given the mission to share the Good News and serve others.  I always hope to be on the right track, but when things are not going well, as they sometimes don’t, I turn to my family as well as my parish community for strength and, when needed, a reality check.  To not have to journey alone through life is truly a gift!  Please remember today that you are not alone, either.

We urge you, brothers, admonish the idle, cheer the fainthearted, support the weak, be patient with all.   1 Thessalonians 5:14