Happy Easter to those of you who celebrate. I am one of those who does, and as with everything else right now, it seems a little surreal. So few of the normal markers are there to prepare me to be in the Easter spirit. No children hunting eggs on the lawn, no swarm of people to sing harmony with from the hymnal, no baby goats and lambs at work to giggle at as they gambol. The “happy” in “Happy Easter” is a little hard to connect with today.
We’ve made the attempt to be Eastery. On Maundy Thursday, my husband, mother-in-law, and I crammed on the couch with an open laptop to stream a Catholic service on Facebook Live. I thought it was wonderful that we could join with a local church this way, and yet, the feeling was so different with the dog begging for a walk and conversations flying in the room. It was like trying to get into your favorite book again, but losing the ability to just get lost in that world. I figured I’d give it another go on Good Friday, but Friday was anything but good, as we had to furlough many of my coworkers.
As with so many of you, this coronavirus isolation and uncertainty has me feeling alternately antsy and down. As an introvert, I usually love a little isolation to write and defrag my brain. But the past two weeks have drained my creativity, let alone any Easter feeling (besides the desire to solace myself with chocolate bunnies).
Last night as my husband and I were doing our civic duty to protect the world by binge-watching TV shows on the couch, I found myself crying. We were watching Tales from the Loop, a superb speculative fiction series which meditates on time, loss, and change, and how it impacts a town and one family in particular. I highly recommend this series, just maybe not during social distancing. All I could think when I finished the series was how much I missed my parents. That I could not be with my Dad on his birthday, and would now miss Easter. Without giving spoilers, let’s just say the plot and themes and too much Philip Glass really hammered home the sense of isolation, loss, and time passing.
And yet, the logical part of my brain gives thanks:
Thanks that my loved ones are still alive.
Thanks for the medical workers, who are fighting to save lives.
Thanks for the grocery workers, bank tellers, and so many other essential service folks are still out there in a risky climate, helping society still move at least a little.
Thanks I have food, a roof over my head, and 10 more rolls of toilet paper.
Thanks I am not alone in this, and have a loving husband in the house, and friends and family I can reach by Zoom or phone.
Thanks I can still go on a walk (properly socially distanced) in the sunshine and smell the budding trees.
Thanks I have access to the dumb little things in life that make it easier to be shut in, like books and puzzles and Netflix.
I know I am blessed. I just don’t feel it.
This Covid-19 isolation and all the stresses that go with it have become a metaphor for me for this Easter season (and in truth, other Easters in a few other years). I know what I believe, that Christ died for me, and I am grateful. But the feelings of rejoicing are just hard to access sometimes. Do I take my blessings (in both cases) for granted? Have I become entitled?
This may be partly true, but so is this – faith is not a feeling, or at least not merely a feeling. I love that giddy Easter-morning feeling of colorful pastel sunrises and new hope and impossible love. But emotions change like weather. The spirituality that is rooted in truth, that is what remains no matter what the emotions blowing overhead might be. That is the truth that gets us through these challenging times, even when it’s hard to feel the rejoicing.
This may be a somber Easter. And you know what? That’s ok. It’s ok to mourn with those who are sick, for those who have lost loved ones, for those who lost jobs. It’s also ok to feel joy and wonder in your heart this morning if you can. Whatever you are feeling this Easter morning, I give you permission to feel it.
God is still on his throne.
Christ is still risen.
It’s still Easter.
Praying for you, the sick, the medical workers, and the world.