Harder and harder to keep my house clean when I would much rather be out on a walk
or reading or journaling or talking on the phone or meeting friends for lunch or planning getaways or watching NCAA basketball.
Harder and harder to eat well when there are bagels, Snickers bars, slices of pizza, licorice, sour cream and onion potato chips and corn muffins and chicken wings and bottles of Cherry Coke and Cheerwine everywhere.
Harder and harder to cut down on spending when the organic fruits and vegetables, the kombucha and green matcha tea, the gluten free crackers and hummus, the quinoa and millet are so much more expensive than the less healthy stuff.
Friends who live too far away for regular visits.
Friends whose children are growing up without seeing my bright and shining face often enough to know who I am and why I love them.
Friends who work too hard and whose calendars are too full to engage in regular phone conversations or text exchanges.
Friends whose lives are being lived in other time zones.
Friends and family members, soul sisters and soul stirrers who are simply too far away.
Harder and harder to think of Maundy Thursday, Jesus' last night with his disciples, when he washed their feet, broke bread and shared a cup of wine with them. He knew they were going to abandon him. He knew one would deny him. He knew one would betray him. But he ate with them anyway. He loved them anyway - all the way to the end.
Harder and harder because I want to believe that I wouldn't have been like them, that I would have listened more closely and believed everything Jesus said.
Harder and harder because the better I get to know myself, my fickleness of mind, my insistence on concise answers to my clarifying questions, my yearning for safety, security, and ease, the more certain I am that I would have been no different, no more reliable, no more trusting, no more faithful than any of them.
Harder and harder because, even though I am more aware of my own faults and broken places, I still have precious little patience for people who abandon me or deny me or betray me - for the people around me who are so much like me.
Harder and harder to know what to think or say or write or do on Good Friday and Solemn Saturday. The days of his accusation, torture, mock trial, crucifixion, and burial. Those days when those who were closest to Jesus closed themselves into rooms and locked the doors, lamenting the death of the one they had hoped would redeem them and set them free from fear. Those days in which the women who followed most closely prepared burial spices to care for his beaten, bruised, lifeless body.
Harder and harder because it's far too easy to skip past those solemn, silent, and serious days. It is far easier to spend the days between now and Easter doing other things - baking cookies, planning Sunday's menu, and deciding what to put into Easter eggs and baskets. It's too tempting to plan my time so that I arrive at Easter morning without ever walking in the shadows, in the darkness, through the suffering, facing the sorrow, all in the knowledge that it was love that kept him praying in that dark garden, nailed to that rugged cross and subjected to the indignity of that tomb. Love for the people who walked with him and then abandoned him. Love for the people who accused him and framed him. Love for the people who were yet to be born - people like us, like you, like me. Which reminds me of that old song, "When he was on the cross, I was on his mind."
I want to skip the bloody, barbaric parts.
I want to get to Sunday morning.
I want to put on my Easter dress and shoes.
I want to sing hymns. I want to see the lilies.
I want to celebrate. I want to be happy.
But with hundreds of families mourning the intentional crashing of an airplane,
with far too many people recovering from difficult diagnoses and traumatic treatments,
with two hundred school girls missing from their Nigerian families for nearly a year,
with unjust wars that rage on unresolved for years,
with random acts of terror, rage, and violence happening around us, between us, and within us,
I need to find ways to be still and watch,
to be still and wait
to be still and weep,
to be still and know
that even though this life of mine is getting harder and harder,
even though it is getting harder and harder to remain tethered to hope,
even though it is getting harder and harder to believe that we won't completely destroy the planet in the next four to six weeks,
even though the list of earth's sorrows grows longer and longer,
even though it's only Tuesday and there is a long way to go between now and "the first day of the week,"
between now and then,
I will recall and recount the goodness of God,
the provision and protection,
the help and healing,
the love and laughter,
the touch and tenderness,
and the friendships and faithfulness of so many.
I will love the ones I'm with and receive their love
- even though I know how broken and flawed and afraid and lonely we all are.
And I will remind myself over and over again:
It's Tuesday, but Sunday is coming.
It's Wednesday, April Fool's Day, and this fool is clinging to the fact that Sunday is coming.
It's Maundy Thursday, which will end in the darkness of a silent sanctuary - but Sunday is coming.
It's Good Friday, which always feels so God-gone bad - but Sunday is coming.
Shhhh, it's Silent, Solemn Saturday - just one more day.
Hang on - because Sunday is coming.