This post has been a long time coming.

On Good Friday, I sat in the pew and I told God that I knew that I was being too controlling, but, please, if we could just get through Easter Sunday, I promised to deal with it then. And it’s true. I have been trying to control things. Everything has seemed so out of control that I have been managing everything, trying to make things okay for my family, stuffing my emotions, setting a high standard for myself and forcing myself to live up to it. On Good Friday, as Mike and I were driving to the zoo after the service, I said, “I know this isn’t a way to live, but I don’t know how to stop doing it.” His advice? “You should stop doing it.”

It’s not really working, either – there are all kinds of things that are outside my control, and when something happens, I occasionally melt down. All my efforts aren’t getting me anywhere at all. I haven’t been living in a constant state of freak-out, though, because I keep putting things away, pushing them to a far corner deep within my mind – “I am not going to deal with that right now.” I haven’t been blogging about anything but books, because when you don’t feel (or deal with) anything, you don’t have much to say about your life. You can only talk about what you are doing. And what I’ve been doing is what I usually do – read. I’ve been plowing through books with more resolve than usual, because it keeps me occupied. I’m sorry it’s been so boring. I am still learning how to grieve appropriately.

On that topic, in Sunday School last week, we talked about whether it was appropriate to have the Lenten services be a little bit more “down” than services at other times. I said yes, because the Bible isn’t a book that’s always happy, our lives aren’t always happy, and I think the rhythm of the Christian year should represent all the different aspects of our lives. I was taught and still believe that abundant life doesn’t just mean a happy life. It’s about the full spectrum of emotions. Christians aren’t that great with grief, but we’re never going to get better at it if we insist that our worship services all be upbeat.

So, now that I made it through the darkness of the Tenebrae service, the sorrow of the Good Friday service, and the joy of Sunday’s Easter service, where does that leave me?

On Sunday, I sat on stage (I was liturgist, reading the call to worship, the scripture, and the prayers) and watched as we took the black drapery (that is so not the word I am looking for) off of the cross and brought the brass candlesticks and lit candles back into the sanctuary. Rejoice! For he is risen! And, oh, I am so thankful that we have hope that there is life beyond this. It helps to know that one day I can see my dad again. I am sure that there was quite an Easter celebration in heaven. But I stuffed those feelings and made it through the service, doing my job, not wanting to think about what the hope of eternal life means to me this year. We had lunch with friends, we visited my family, and when we got home I was so tired that my whole body hurt.

I wasn’t going to post poetry again so soon, but when I was looking for an appropriate Easter-ish poem, I found this Madeleine L’Engle poem, too.

“Go Away. You Can’t Come In. I’m Shutting the Door.”

Go away. You can’t come in. I’m shutting the door.
I’m afraid of you. I’m not sure who you are anymore.
I’m closing the door. I’m staying safe and alone.
Batter against it all you like. This house is built on stone.
You can’t come in. I’ve shuttered the windows tight.
You never say who you are. If it’s You, then it’s all right,
But you might be the other, the beautiful prince of this world
Who makes my heart leap with his cohorts and banners unfurled.
I could be unfaithful with him without any trouble
If I opened the door. He could easily pass for your double.
I’ve buried my talents. If put them to use
I could hurt or be hurt, be abused or abuse.
I wish you’d stop blowing. My whole house is shaken.
I’ll hide under the covers. Be gone when I waken.

What’s that light at the windows, that blast at the door?
The shutters are burning, there’s fire on the floor.
Go away. I don’t know you. My clothes are aflame,
My tongue is on fire, you are crying my name;
I hear your wild voice through the holocaust’s din.
My house is burned up.
What?
Oh, welcome! Come in!

I haven’t been burned up. God hasn’t been forcing me to let him in, knocking down any doors. But, in a way, I do feel burned up. Like I don’t know what to do next. And I don’t. I guess this year’s Lent, if it was about anything, was about bringing me to the end of myself. I’m going to try to remember how to be a human again, to feel things and to let myself be sad or happy or confused, if that’s what I am. I don’t want to do this, because I don’t want to be a mess. But I think it’s better to be a mess than to keep on doing something that isn’t working.

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    This post has been a long time coming. – Through a Glass, Darkly

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