The sun was shining bright, the sky was blue, and blooming flowers set a backdrop for a glorious day. I love the flowers of Easter; their arrival timed so perfectly—a miracle of life reborn after the long dark, harsh winter.
It’s Easter Sunday.
He is Risen
Hope is Alive.
We are Easter People.
It’s the most glorious day of the year.
I didn’t expect to wake up with a migraine on my favorite day of the year. The day was already promising to be different because I was called to be home rather than celebrating and singing “Alleluia,” from the pew.
The sun filtered in and cast shadows across the room and on the day. With the heaviness, shadows, and migraine, was this Good Friday or Easter Sunday?
Still in my lazy pajamas, I clipped a few branches from the forsythia and plum tree to add to my vase already adorning my breakfast table to bring joy and new life into our home.
Tending Garden and Pulling Weeds
The Easter dinner plan was to heat the Honey Baked Ham delivered to us by my beloved friend and assemble our favorite Easter side dishes.
Instead, we decided to order dinner from a restaurant with a gift card we’d been holding onto for months. That ham will still bring good tidings in the days ahead.
These days we are mighty selective about where we give our energy. It’s far too precious a season to waste it on anything but meaningful and life-giving things.
Friday night, the girls fashioned brown Shop bags into some semblance of Easter Baskets. We have learned to embrace our season and limited resources because who wants to climb into the attic for the baskets and find the crazy bat or rat. Besides, the girls love doing these creative things. They knew an Easter Bunny never made sense and we often discuss how gift-giving (even to themselves) is their love language. They shopped for the contents and were happy with the “Easter Bunny’s” blessings.
Last night our oldest young lady made our famous, traditional overnight French toast bake for our Easter breakfast—just like her dad. As I ground coffee and helped Ian get Jon situated, my raging migraine intensified. No medicine could touch or heal it. It felt like a crown of thorns stabbing at every point. How did Jesus do it, I always wonder. And I wonder, for all the brain MRIs I had for my migraines in my lifetime Jon still has outnumbered me in the last few years. As he often says, “Of all the things.”
Yet he never has a single ache in his head. Certainly not like mine. I’m grateful he has had no pain to endure. It’s other things like waiting and unknowing. Like a Holy Saturday, we wait and pray and hope with each passing moment and each upcoming scan to give us details about what could be to come.
We have created so many traditions I don’t need to do anything anymore because the kids have each of them memorized and ingrained in their hearts. Most of those traditions happen around the table when we break bread. I’m glad we never gave up on that.
So we all do our part to prepare the way for a feast. It helps ease the pain of our suffering and gives our best to Jon in these uncertain days.
While not the plan, yesterday, Holy Saturday, my bigs and I spent the morning deeply cleaning and purging the kitchen of many outdated, unnecessary, accumulating things while Jon slept in the next room. Those things—the muddle— have been weighing me down; the cross is heavy enough.
Holy Saturday used to be the day Jon and I would dance around each other or stand next to one another in the kitchen, preparing the makings for our Easter Feast and whatever offering we were to bring to wherever we were invited.
Oh, how the days and seasons are different. While we are tethered to those memories and long to be in those days and maybe have our home filled with others gathering for love and laughter, we know this sacred season is for us. But make no mistake, we grieve what was and what could be—we are learning to let go.
We’ve seen that the bonds of faith within our family have been forged along the worn path of brain cancer and caregiving. We are living the liturgy.
Yesterday my son helped me weed a bit and assemble the front planters as his dad did. We set them in such a way so Jon can enjoy them from his view. Jon loved pulling weeds with me. For every weed I slowly pull now, I offer up in thanksgiving for him and all the weeds he pulled and seeds we planted together in our lifetime.
We also mended fences in many places yesterday as the rails were worn and weathered over time.
We were open to receiving some grace that poured out on us to let some healing begin while grief still lingers.
For we ARE Easter people.
We believe in the risen healer who sacrificed for us as he descended to the fires of hell, grasped the hands of those tempted by a snake, and fell by an apple in the garden.
I’ve been pondering and praying over this image of Jesus saving Adam and Eve since yesterday, Holy Saturday. It lets me know that my crucible is no match for the forgiveness, mercy, and redemption of the refiner who left the Tomb empty.
Empty Tomb, Hope is Alive
There is Hope
There is Joy.
There is still heartbreak, and there is still grief.
But there is resurrection, new life and eternity.
There is Easter. I’m glad we are here for it, even if I have yet to dress the part in my pink flowing Easter skirt. I am still donning those lazy pajamas as I type this. Also, it’s always curious how words are laid on my heart and stitched together while resting and fighting the misery of a migraine. All Glory to Him.
Even if only part of our little domestic church, the kids, actually made it into the pews, I am thankful for the celebration and that the Sacrament was brought to us by those in the state of grace.
For today in this season, I get to witness the fruits of our labor and of all of the years of showing up and planting seeds of faith.
Tending gardens and mending fences comes with hard and holy work. It’s a commitment not for the faint of heart, especially when others try to steal that peace and destroy us.
God wins this one for certain.
God wins with a family growing in the life of Christ despite/because of the crosses we carry for Him.
The commitment to the Sacraments offers witness to them, our children and our legacy that, because of the agony of Good Friday, Easter Sunday brings hope and joy abound.
Twelve years ago today, our boy received his First Holy Communion. The day was as glorious a day as today, minus the migraine and a progressing disease. But there was hope and promise on that day. We just had to patiently wait to see it bloom. And boy has it bloomed beyond my wildest dreams and endless prayers. This may be the chapter called: “Set Apart.”
As parents who commit to raising their children in the faith—Sacrament of Marriage, Baptism, Holy Communion, Confirmation—we pray they choose to turn to God and remain faithful to the church even in, especially in, times of trouble, not just on a Sunday wearing their Easter Best.
When they follow the traditions in which they were raised, they can choose to rise up and get dressed up for their favorite church day, too. Then grace pours out. So we thank God and raise an Alleluia for them and their commitment to living a life of faith too. It’s “the secret miracle of flowering” (C. Houselander)—in the seeds we have planted and were never sure how they would grow. It’s no wonder white Hyacinths found me yesterday—the white flower of Christ (see quote below)
You Reap What you Sow.
The seeds you sow.
The garden you tend.
The fences you mend.
The commitment you make.
The love you give.
They learn what they live.
They live what they learn.
Then they choose to become Easter People, too.
May the Light of Christ guide your path.
May you plant seeds and see the miracle of the flower.
May the hope of Easter bloom in your hearts each day as you are made new.
May you know the joy and hope of Easter
May you be renewed by the Paschal Mysteries and find hope in the Lord, Alleluia, Alleluia.
May you and your family be blessed this Easter Season every day.
May you be Easter People, too
Sending Easter Blessings and love from our family to yours.
If you have been following along you will know 2023 has been a bit rough for Jon and our family with a few dramatic medical moments related to brain cancer symptoms and several unexpected ER visits and hospital stays. We have another MRI coming in the next two weeks. We believe God can do mighty things and still believe in miracles. We have been touched by them on this journey, We pray for that BIG one that gives complete and total healing. Thy Will be Done.
Currently we are praying the Divine Mercy Chaplet until the Sunday after Easter with Specific intentions for God’s Divine Mercy to pour out healing over Jon. It’s not too late to start. You can find the daily prayers over at my friend Kristin’s page @NovenaCards on Instagram.
We continue to be filled with gratitude for the love, prayer and generous support shown to our family. No act of love or mercy goes unnoticed, please know I am doing my best to focus on Jon’s needs and of course, the needs of my children, those at home and those who travel to and from college far more often then they ought to in this moment of their lives. But I see how God is forming their compassionate and unconditionally loving hearts. Their deeds will be rewarded greatly.
Give it time my beautiful children, give it time. I am so proud to be your mom and watch you grow and persevere through all of this.