What were your expectations for Holy Week before all of us were living Plan B, Safer at Home?
I envisioned our families at Holy Thursday Mass washing each other’s feet, our teens sharing the story of Jesus with our little ones in the Living Stations and praying at the Easter Vigil with my husband.
Like you, what I envisioned isn’t going to happen. So many things we looked forward to aren’t going to happen.
This year made me think of my eighth-grade Easter.
I was expecting two things, singing in the choir and wearing high heel shoes to Mass. (I recognize this story reveals my spiritual maturity in middle school…lol.)
I can’t tell you how I looked forward to the joyful celebration, the church being full, singing the joyous songs we had practiced, the end of the somber sacrifices of Lent, and loving it all from my new height in those shoes!
But that Easter morning was blanketed in a foot of snow. As I headed out the door for Mass, my mother looked at me and said, “Kathie, put your boots on!” I looked at her as only an adolescent girl can look at her mother and with a distinctive eye roll, responded, “Boots? Are you kidding?!?”
I won’t go into more of the story, but you can imagine the mother-daughter dialogue that followed. That Easter I walked to church and sang in the choir in my big old boots.
I share that embarrassing memory because it makes me laugh, and these days, we all need a laugh. But, also, to remember that sometimes the unexpected offers lessons and gifts.
One, it is never about what happens to us that matters the most. It’s always about how we respond. Sometimes even our most humbling moments can offer our clearest lessons about life. Sometimes our most stressful moments later reveal strength we never knew we had. Sometimes the loneliest moments teach us how much belonging to a community is never to be taken for granted. Sometimes faith in God and each other is what we hold onto most dearly as we live six feet apart.
Two, God always wants more for us than we can imagine for ourselves. I wanted to wear those shoes, but God wanted me to remember decades later that my mom loved and protected me, and she taught me to laugh at myself. God wanted me to be nurtured in a community of faith that has been my rock through transitory challenges, as well as unthinkably difficult times. I wanted so much less for myself than God wanted for me.
This Easter, because we aren’t gathering for brunch or hunting for Easter eggs in the backyard with our family or heading out for Spring Break– perhaps because we won’t be “doing” any of those wonderful but distracting things, we will have the time– take the time to remember our extraordinary identity. Each of us is a child of God, and we share a heritage in Jesus, Son of the Almighty God, whose mission was to save us from ourselves and our limited expectations of who we can become. He lived and died so that when we face death, our expectation can be everlasting life with our God who loves us. This Easter, whether you are alone, disappointed, discouraged, or wearing big old boots, remember you are loved, and our good compassionate God is with you and will give you all the wisdom and strength you need.
Know that my love and prayers are with you and that I am wishing you the great expectations of what God wants for you this Easter!