Tag Archiv: Holy week
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My younger kids are especially crazy about dress up. They beg to play almost every day. They will clean things to get a yes. If I say no, they somberly depart, collect a costume each, then descend the stairs to beg if there is any way they can at least put on the costume in their hand. They solemnly pledge not to touch a single other item from the dress up tub should I say yes.
There is probably a justification for not allowing someone to wear a ballerina dress or plastic armor over their clothes, but I can never think of it when they look so plaintive. I leverage a small task and inevitably say yes. Maybe because I get the thing about dress up.
Dress up is an invitation to become our dreams, to experiment with what our dreams even are. To be someone else and to become more ourselves. The only one of my kids not in love with dress up right now is the only one not quite sure how to sit in his own skin. Trying to figure out a walk and a talk he can call his own, he’s dressing up alright, but he doesn’t know it yet.
Holy week is a drama. In some places it’s official with passion plays or musicals. Other places it proceeds without mention. Which is too bad because Holy week is an invitation to dress up. Wrap yourself in deep sorrow, unanswered longing, and uncertainty about the future. Try on doubt, worry, wonder, hatred, love. Leave them on the floor, pick up anger, joy, fear, hesitant faith, despair, and unrelenting hope. Look in the mirror. Pick through the piles and try it all on. Laugh, cry, throw your voice, get help with the zipper at the back. When you realize it’s broken throw a cape over it and go out anyway.
You look around and it’s all so much bigger than you. Heavy burdens that you carry are reduced to what they are: some things in the midst of a vast multitude of things. A lot of people don’t fit their shoes quite right. Missing buttons, rips and tears. There’s a whole world of people sporting costumes like yours.
Holy week is a week that’s going somewhere. There’s a parade and you’re in it. Every outfit you’ve ever worn or wanted to wear is invited. Nothing is too awkward, outrageous, unsuitable, or simple this week. Attired accordingly, Quakers, transvestites, prophets, priests, professors and prostitutes, we are all on the float. Swept along towards a mystery we cannot possibly understand.
On Friday the pile of costumes will be collected to make a hill. On top of the hill a naked man will die without a costume. Before he does, he will look at us and smile. We will realize then that we are naked, clothed only in his love. Naked and in love, we will wait the rest of Friday and Saturday.
Sunday in awe, we’ll dress slowly as ourselves. Every one of us resplendent, honest to God children of the King.
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I find mercy in the rhythms of everyday life. My heart is heavy with news of a Dutch priest and psychotherapist, who chose to stay in danger and solidarity with the people of Syria whom he has been serving for decades, killed three days short of his 76th birthday. That was ten days ago. This week, a bombing at a Catholic school in Damascus, Syria, killed a nine year old and injured 45. My heart worries and aches for the people of Ukraine. Rwanda is observing remembrance, of the awful genocide twenty years ago, and remarkable steps toward healing and reconciliation since. Holy week marches on.
Girl two has become fascinated with St. Rose of Lima. She knows little about her, the name, “Rose,” is the focus of adoration.
“What’s Lima?” she wanted to know.
I told her it was a city in Peru, the same place a close friend of ours is from.
Girl two’s eyes lit up. “Does that mean,” she said breathless, “that St. Rose had brown skin too?”
“I think it does. Does that make you happy?” I ask.
“Yes,” said Girl two. “Brown skin is so beautiful. And it sparkles. Especially in the sun. You have to see it in the sun. I love the sparkles so much.”
Fear despises difference. Love sees the sparkles.
Spring has sprung the coils in the children’s brains. Boy two has been on a rampage of neglected duties. A few days ago he came to me with great sincerity and measured tone.
“I have a question,” he said. “I have brushed the horse and fed the chickens. I’ve collected the eggs and put away my school things. I’ve emptied the ash and practiced my piano. Is there anything else I need to do, or I have I done enough to be iddal now.” (think “little,” with no “l”)
I blink while my brain works to solve the puzzle of “iddal.”
“Is it possible that you read the word, ‘I. D. L. E.’ in a book and you are trying to pronounce it?” I ask. “Because you say the word with a long I. Idle.”
“Iddal. Idle. Whatever. So have I done to be idle now?”
Mother Teresa, who surely saw more than the average share of the world’s pain, said that “love begins at home.” We are all of us insufficient to alleviate the needs of so vast a world. It is a crisis of immensity with a place to start. The radical promise of Easter.
In barren fields, things unexpected grow. The world disintegrates and love is made new again. Hope, peace, joy, rise rediscovered, and renewed.
I will be taking a few days off from the blog, back on Tuesday, next week. In eager expectation and gratitude, may we walk toward the hope that is Easter. And may we be iddal long enough to hear the ballads of miracle and mystery that bid us also to rise up.
Often after dinner, one of the girls will want to know what I am doing. Are you busy now? Do you have jobs to do? they ask.
What do you need? I’ll say cleaning up the counters. Do you have something you want to do together?
A lot of times, the answer is the same. I don’t need anything, I just want to be with you.
My children have this in common. Boy one hovers, chattering incessantly. When doing homework he wants to be two feet from wherever everyone else is. He thinks of questions to ask at night, just to have an excuse to hang around where we are. Boy two likes to read nearby in case I start reading something out loud to the girls. He swears he can listen to me read one book and read his own book at the same time. I have my doubts, but I don’t think it’s the stories that he cares about. The girls are young enough to be straightforward about it. They don’t care about the doing, they want us to be together.
I keep coming back to this idea. I just want to be with you. Girl two’s voice will echo in my head for a little while and then I start to hear the way Girl one says it.
My knickers are in horrible knots right now from trying to get everything right. Coming up to Easter, the stones in my head are rolling around trying to sort it all out. I wonder if the whole thing: baby in the manger through to dying man on a cross, is the long version of, I just want to be with you.
I think about it and my mind starts drifting. I see a picture of myself in a department store (shopping for me = traumatic exercise). I have been trying on clothes, only to discover that I’ve wet myself somehow. This cannot be happening, I am many things, but I am not yet incontinent. At least I wasn’t. There is no explanation really, just a puddle on the floor around my soggy shoes. I look around desperate for what I am to do, how I am to clean it up, and then what. I am wondering if people will smell it before I can fix it. And then there He is, long hair, white robe Bible clothes and all. Standing in the middle of Sears, in the middle of Holy Week, in the middle of the pictures in my head, smiling at me.
I don’t know what to do.
It’s not Easter yet, I say.
He doesn’t speak, but I know what he’s saying.
I just want to be with you.
There is nothing to do. Nothing to worry about doing.
Me too, I whisper.