You thought we were past this winter thing? Me too.
Despite the fact that I long to sip my morning coffee in the clean, crisp June air (April is winter, May is a more reasonable winter, June is merely crisp), I will take what I was given this morning: snow.
I'll soldier on, because I have hope that it won't always be snowing. We're not quite in Canada, after all.
This is Holy Week, as I'm sure you're aware. It's a peculiar time of year, during which we have the opportunity to be reminded that things are made new. We, this giant, milling brood of messy humans, can be reminded of the meaning found in expectation, in mystery, in goodness. We can set our minds on something buoyant and bright.
As I approach the dogma diving board, allow me to pose what are surely some of your thoughts:
"M, I'm not religious. I'm spiritual", or...
"My path doesn't include Resurrection Sunday or Holy Week", or...
"I hate religion", or...
"We're going to talk about religion? To be honest, M, I only come here to sneer at your most recent physical trauma or social embarrassment. Don't get the impression that I read this to think".
Well, 1) Then we have something in common. 2) Sorry - mine does, and it's my blog (today is not your day... yet). 3) Of course you do - religion practically begs to be hated. 4) Touche (or, as C says, "Toosh").
This post isn't really about religion. It's about hope. The connection between one and the other is yours to tie together and likewise, yours to slip apart. For now though, let's talk sunshine.
As I sat on my couch this morning to write, the sun had risen up behind me. It lifted beyond the eastern rim of this little dip-in-the-land that we call home. Over the white, opaque ice of the pond. Over thousands of pines. Over hills in the distance, and perhaps even over the meandering Appalachian Trail, which runs just southeast of here. The warm heat on my shoulders made me feel like this winter might... not... last forever. It gave me hope.
What is so striking about Holy Week is the music of it. Go to your nearest Barnes & Noble, hop on Spotify, or paw through your scratched CD collection (oh wait, that's mine) in search of Adagio for Strings, Op. 11a, composed by Samuel Barber. Feel the despair in the music, the need. If you listen well, you'll almost sense a physical tug on your soul as the music ebbs and flows from high to low, and back again. Holy week is like this. If you don't know the story, here's a gravely simplified, throw-me-in-the-stocks version: First, there' a HUGE welcome party, full of celebrity attention and staring, I'm sure. Then there's betrayal by a inner-circle kind of buddy, followed by the kinds of torture and death that thankfully most nations don't practice anymore. Then, somehow, in the wake of these nasty, depressing, terrible things, there's life. It ebbs, it flows, and it swells, until it finally reaches a crescendo. It is an account of hope.
Easter, or Resurrection Sunday, as it's also called, is an occasion to float. It arrives at the end of a horrible weekend, following a current of betrayal, sadness and loss. It is a reminder to hope in the midst of things, because - just wait - there is a roaring crescendo in the story that is just around the bend, and you are almost there. Hold on.
As you work your way through this week, regardless of your spiritual path, be encouraged. I always kid that I'd become an atheist, except that I'm not sure how I could do that and still manage to think about tomorrow. There's more to it than this, but I know that in order for me, personally, to live well, I need a hope. In fact, I don't know how you could go without one. Can you?
So, in a different way, that's also why the sunrise drew me in this morning, why it lifted me. It is a reminder that there is hope in the sorrow. There is hope in the ebb and in the flow. There is hope when it snows in April.
Yes, even then.