I had a sneaking suspicion that my Easter celebration was not going to feel much like a celebration this year. Last week I saw it coming. Bloggers wrote about Lent, Good Friday, and posted recipes, tablescapes, door décor and fun, spring crafts. My Facebook feed blew up with scriptures, links to online devotions and inspirational photos.
Friday was here, but sure enough, Sunday was a comin’!
And I felt nothing.
I skipped the devos, scrolled right past the photos and laid nary an eye on the recipe for yeast rolls.
As a member of my church choir, I was there early Easter Sunday, albeit five minutes late. With limited time before the first service began, we quickly rehearsed one more time and then took our places on stage.
Church started and we sang. All the while I scanned the sanctuary for my husband and oldest son. Finally, they made it but they had missed all but one song and the sermon.
I had just enough time to say a quick word to them before they left for home and I left for the choir room before second service began.
We sang again. With the first service acting as an extra rehearsal, we nailed the one song on which we had a minor flub earlier.
Afterwards, I spoke with some friends before heading toward my van and home.
One problem. The van was deader than a doornail.
Did I say, “One problem?”
That was premature.
Two problems: the dead van AND my cell phone – the one that was not in my purse. The one that was sitting on my kitchen counter.That one.
Remember the part in which I was five minutes late? Running out of my house hours earlier I decided not to waste the time to go back for my phone. After all, I never needed it on Sundays at church.
Never say never. Now I needed it to call my husband. Sure, I could borrow a phone but I couldn’t recall his or my son’s number. I can barely remember my own and often give the wrong one – usually off by one digit!
I borrowed a phone and dialed my own. I tried three times! I knew they could hear it and I also knew they probably wouldn’t answer it.
A friend offered to take a look under the hood of my van and in short order he had it running after tightening a loose battery cable.
On my way home, I silently fumed about the delay, the phone I left and the fact that no one answered my call. Plus, I was hungry!
I sighed heavily as I passed the turn-off to the cemetery where my younger son’s body rests. (I hate even writing that sentence. Hate it. Hate it. Hate it.)
As I drove, I thought I should take a lily to the grave site but going there makes me feel so sad. I relive the day we left him there. Oh my. Dear Lord, help me.
When I got home, I set immediately to preparing our big Easter meal. Ha! In years past, yes, it was a big meal followed by either my made from scratch carrot cake or my coconut cake. Then it was out to the yard for an Easter egg hunt and pictures. But not this year. Not the past four years.
For some reason this year’s Easter weekend felt sadder to me than last year’s. I think because the evidences of change are sharper with each passing Holiday.
Our menu this year: steak on the grill, roasted veggies, baked potatoes, deviled eggs (only 4!) and a store bought pie.
Our table this year held no special arrangement and neither did my door. There’s one lone nail in it. Perhaps that is symbolic after all – the Easter nail.
Only three of us sat at the table. It felt lonely to me.
There was one bright spot–a divine spark–to the day however. It came as a complete surprise. There had been no build up to it and it caught me off guard.
During the first service we sang a new arrangement of an old song. I sang it often in church as a teen and young adult.
It was the one song we sang this season in which I did not need to learn the words. I had those memorized years ago.
Amazing Grace will always be my song of Praise,
For it was Grace that brought me liberty,
I do not know just why he came to love me so,
He looked beyond my faults and saw my needs.
I shall forever lift my eyes to Calvary,
To view the Cross where Jesus died for me,
How marvelous his Grace that caught my falling soul,
He looked beyond my faults and saw my needs.
And right at this point: “I shall forever lift my eyes to Calvary,” tears filled my eyes, and at “To view the Cross where Jesus died for me,” my throat tightened. With, “How marvelous His Grace that caught my falling soul,” my hands were uplifted.
Despite everything – my lack of feeling much at all, a van that wouldn’t start, a ringing cell phone on a kitchen counter, deviled eggs sitting forlornly on a plate, and only three of us around the holiday table – the truth of the sacrifice on a cross on a hill met me in the words of a song.
All of us will have our Good Friday feeling that doesn’t feel so good because this world still holds pain and disappointment. For every pretty frock and smiling family on Facebook, there are those who keenly feel the absence of a dearly loved son, daughter, wife or husband. Perhaps they are even the ones smiling for the camera or, like I, never even picked it up because why record a lackluster occasion.
For every lovely spring wreath and bounteous buffet photographed for social media display, there is another picture not taken – the last minute store bought pie and a solitary nail in the front door.
The spring outfits, the ham and yams, the bling on the door…it’s all just stuff. But I admit, this year I missed the stuff.
Still, I’m glad I have that moment in the music–when the words rang out from a painful, yet grateful, place in my heart—a place that Someone who died for me dearly knows.
Jesus, the Son of God, knew that place in my heart when He died for me on a cross on a hill. He knew it when the first nail was driven. He knew. He knows. He cares. He loves.
And even today, He looks beyond my faults—my unfeeling, my bare, my empty, my lonely, my resignation, my selfishness, my disappointment and my pain—and He sees my needs.
In spite of this, He loves me still.
In light of that “resurrection” moment that filled my heart, my soul can truly sing, “How marvelous His Grace that caught my falling soul…”
I hope yours can too. If you don’t know what it means to feel the peace of God and know that even when life is hard, God is good and you can place your heart in his hands, please take a minute to find out how. (Go here.)
How about you? Did you have a “resurrection” moment on Easter weekend? Were you able to look past the “stuff” and truly recognize His sacrifice?Pin It