I’ve been AWOL. It wasn’t a planned blogging break, nor was it a complete social media break (though it was close to complete, the only place I have really been posting over the last couple of weeks has been on Instagram), but it was a break and it felt good to have it. This may be a little heavy for a “first day back”, but it feels like it wants to be written here and not just in my journal.
We may be several days into the season of Easter, but in many respects this last week feels a little more like it is still Good Friday or Holy Saturday. That knife was twisted even deeper last night as I sat through (because I didn’t really feel like participating in) a Celtic liturgy celebrating the resurrection. As I was expressing my frustration at that false-feeling sentiment, a friend gently reminded me that the bleakness of Good Friday is just as real as the hope and joy of Easter Sunday. It is true. But this has been a week of loss and so it feels more like Good Friday.
I’ve heard it said enough to be unclear on the actual origins of the words, “We are Easter people living in a Good Friday world”. That is clearer to me working at the shelter than anywhere else I have ever spent a good portion of my time: In the last three and a half months, we have experienced the death of five of our clients. One of those was yesterday. Really, we should be experiencing it more frequently and it is a testament to the hardiness of the human body and spirit that we do not experience more deaths amongst that incredibly vulnerable population.
It was inevitable.
It was an incredibly popular song when it first came out about 10 years ago and received a lot of airplay on pretty much every radio station on the planet. The lyrics are powerful and tell the story of the hope of someone who expects to experience the resurrection. Mum requested we use the song for a slideshow at her memorial service and I spent many hours at the computer with photos realizing that request.
On Monday I went to the memorial service of a client who has been with us for a long time. His family held a lovely service at a local funeral home and I went, almost by accident: I was the only one of us free to go at the time of his service. It is amazing how you can know someone for so many months in a very specific context and have no idea about the rest of their life. It is such a privilege to be allowed to peek inside the past lives of people and catch a glimpse of what life has been like. That can take many forms. On Monday, it took the form of a moving slideshow of his life, set to that song.
It was inevitable.
In my last year of my undergrad, I took a random collection of courses to fulfill all of the requirements I had not yet met. In my attempt to find something that both fit my schedule and seemed remotely interesting, I ended up in a philosophy of literature course. In the first days? weeks? of that course, I made friends with a Canadian/Swiss student who ended up also being involved in IVCF with me. We became good friends and she and her family even hosted Nat and I on our European Adventure in 2006.
Her mother had been sick for some time and my friend returned home to Switzerland once she finished her degree. I’ve missed our tea and knitting and haven’t stayed as in-contact as I would have liked to have been… though I could say that for many people and I certainly haven’t helped any in my multi-week withdrawal from the Internet.
On Good Friday, I awoke to an email saying that her mother had passed away that morning. Fitting day. But not, because losing a mother always sucks. In contrast to the lyrics of that song above, this time I can imagine what it is like for her and I would love to be able to have some more tea and offer a shoulder and a hug.
I feel the need to close this off by saying that I am okay and that there is no reason for alarm-filled emails to check on that. Really.