This long Lent is grinding to a close. The only triumphal processions last Sunday, Palm Sunday in the western church, were virtual. Some individuals placed palm fronds on their front doors. I didn’t even make it that far, though I intended to. That about sums up a lot since we’ve been sheltering in place. Way more intentions than actions, it seems, like old dreams, where my feet won’t move.
I hear from some who are bored. Others juggle full-time jobs while helping kids focus on tons of schoolwork passed on by remote meetings with teachers. Many have too much time and perhaps less energy, or no good way to dissipate it. Some are dealing with lost work and pay, others even lost businesses. Many are alone and isolated. A dear friend of mine whose husband is in skilled nursing care is only able to “visit” him on Facetime, whenever the staff has time to schedule her in. He is declining rapidly without her daily visits and her touch.
So much heartache.
No one close to me has lost a life to COVID-19, so far. But that guillotine blade hovers above us all, doesn’t it? Whether you or a loved one is a healthcare worker or first responder (thank you), we all feel the threat.
Even as we grieve the loss of plans, family time together, recreational facilities shut down, difficulty getting food and necessities then going through all the steps to decontaminate everything, we feel the ominous presence of disease and death. While I am glad to see neighbors I don’t know out riding bikes or walking, who are normally off and gone in their cars every day, I can’t help wondering who will still be here when it’s all over.
I’m getting pretty dark, not the way I usually go looking for glimpses of peace. But that is what I see outside the window I’m tired of looking through.
Today as I write this, it is the Saturday after Good Friday, when the Hope of all Hopes bleed and suffocated on the cross. When he died, the day turned as dark as night. He was laid in a cave grave by a few crushed but faithful followers – all their hopes dashed.
Most of his disciples had already scattered, off in complete despair to hide from the Roman soldiers, their only hope to avoid a similar death.
I wonder if his mother and the other women who stood at the foot of the cross and braved his brutal death sheltered together after they took his body down, weeping into each other’s arms as they mourned the loss of everything good in their lives.
Everything they had counted on. Trusted in. Planned on.
Do you feel that, too, as you erase events and plans from your calendar? As birthdays pass without parties? Celebrations for years of work are canceled? Trips put on a very long hold, or given up on altogether?
Does it feel like everything that orients your day has been pulled out from under your feet?
Some days, does the grief get heavier as the day drags on?
Even though Lent is ending, we are stuck in the in-between-time. All creation seems to be holding its breath. (We can’t even get a good rain here in usually very wet Florida!)
Our feet are trapped in a time when normal life is a fading memory and we can’t begin to guess what tomorrow is.
No sunlight on the horizon.
But wait. There’s more. (Did you ever think you’d want to read these words from those annoying commercials?)
There is always more when I stop looking at my feet and worrying about why they won’t move.
I will try one more step, this time looking up.
This time, I will recall the truth I know, and use my imagination to let the light in.
On Easter morning, when the women went at dawn to anoint the dead body of Dashed Hopes, they found what they never expected.
Life beyond anything they’d ever experienced.
So much more than a stable home and income, possessions, even more than family.
They could draw in deeper breaths of life than they’d ever known before. They could sing notes they’d never heard before. They could dance steps they never conceived of. They could love with abandon in a fullness they’d never dared to dream.
And they had the certainty that His plans are good!
Ever since He left that grave, He has been bringing life and light to anyone who will look up. Anyone who will respond when he calls their name.
The thief comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life, and have it in abundance to the full, till it overflows. John 10:10 AMP
I am the Resurrection and the Life. Whoever believes in, adheres to, trusts in, relies on Me as Savior will live even if he dies; and everyone who lives and believes in Me as Savior will never die. Do you believe this?” JOHN 11:25 AMP
“Don’t be afraid! I am the First and the Last. I am the living one. I died, but look—I am alive forever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and the grave. Rev 1:18
Dear reader, I am praying for you, that you will be strengthened as you need it.
Would you like to share what is bringing the light for you?