My family attends the Easter Vigil, a service that starts at sundown and stretches for hours and hours until midnight is passed. We started years ago, when some of my family members became Catholic, because it is that day when adults and children not-still-babies are anointed with oil and water and prayers. But, I digress. My mother says to me (I feel she does every year), “This is too much. I can’t do this again next year. I’m getting too old.”
I feel the exact same way about Easter, as a whole.
This is too much. I don’t know that I can do this again next year. I’m getting too old.
When I was a child, the story was explained to me via cartoon shorts and coloring pages and puppets and toy money and a cotton ball dipped in perfume and a piece of paper with a kiss-mark on it (Judas, you know…).
But, I’m an adult now. And Easter is too much.
I was thinking about Easter-preparation this year, how I wish I was more-ready. (“It’s okay,” my oldest brother said, “you can just your best but fail, too, in the name of humility.”)
Maybe my best preparation for Holy Week this year was when I felt betrayed by someone who I earnestly thought loved me. Maybe my best preparation for Holy Week this year were false-accusations pointed in my direction. Maybe my best preparation for Holy Week this year is how I really related to Jesus, there, with those words, “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?”
The story is too much. Friends betraying. People cruelly torturing. The criminal escaping instead. The thief being offered last-second forgiveness. The pierced side flowing blood-and-water. Dang.
I wonder if I’ll be able to do this again next year, by golly. It’s so much. So, so much.
And always, always: God is faithful. Here comes the rush of light that is Easter. Here comes the power of the Resurrection which, in the words of the priest who celebrated my Easter Vigil: “The power of the Resurrection is enough.” It’s enough. The power of the Resurrection covers all of our fears and concerns and anxieties.
And so, I take it all–the repeated prayers, the candles, the heaven-pleading, the songs and all else.
My friend’s boyfriend, not-Catholic, joined us (me, friend, other friends) for the Easter Vigil this year. I asked him if he was familiar with the schedule that was about to unfold. He said he wasn’t, so I told him a few of my highlights: the darkness, the fire lit outside, the song thanking the bees for the candle-light (<3!), the outline of salvation history, the prayer-song begging the saints for their prayers…all of it so beautiful.
I told him that it wasn’t worthy of the goodness of God, because we have no real way of thanking God of all He has given us, so instead we just pile a bunch of the best things we can think of together and call it prayer. 🙂
He said, “Oh, it’s kind of like a child making his parents something for breakfast; they just kind of put together everything they like, even if it doesn’t match. Like, ‘Here’re some waffles! Cereal! Eggs! Candy!'”
And I laughed and told him that that was rather accurate, actually.
The grace of God, man, the goodness of Easter.
I can’t take it.
But, I will.
I will yesterday and today and hopefully tomorrow and forever.
The goodness of God is too much, the entirety of this season is too much. I can barely take it. I’m getting too old for all of the human-ness that is Holy Triduum. Every year I understand the ugly a little bit more deeply…every year, though, the light seems to be more hopeful.
Happy Easter, blahg. Happy, happy Easter.