I woke up this morning to the sound of a child retching in the bathroom.
Not how anyone wants to begin a holiday morning.
This is how my day started: up at 6:30 after a scant four hours of interrupted sleep, blearily cleaning up child and environs, disinfecting things, comforting, and trying to gather enough brain cells to work out how our plans would have to be adjusted around this development.
Christ is risen. Alleluia, right?
I settled the child, showered until I felt clean again, then went back to bed.
An hour later, my youngest was awake and agitating for an Easter egg hunt. I lay in bed listening to the piping little voice becoming more and more excited and emotional, gathering the strength to pull myself back out from under the covers and into the light of day. I made myself get up and orchestrate breakfast so that the kids would have real food before heading for the chocolate. (I also wanted to check to see if anyone else’s breakfast was going to return on them. This is Mommy calculus, right here.)
As I write this, it is 9AM, breakfasts have been eaten, baskets and eggs found, and children kicked outside to blow bubbles with their new bubble wands. The puker is sitting with mint tea and some crackers, gingerly testing his stomach in the hope that Easter dinner might not turn out to be beyond him. My guests have been forewarned about the possibility of vomit and have decided to take the risk and come over anyway, so I have maybe another couple of hours before things get busy again.
So why am I here, punch-drunk with exhaustion, spending my few quiet moments on Easter Sunday morning writing a blog post for the benefit of my handful of readers? What is so important that I have to write about it now?
Christ is risen! Alleluia!
What else is there to say?
I’ve been blogging a lot longer than I’ve been at Patheos. I’ve shared a lot of heartbreak and grief through my writing, much of it in the five years after separating from my husband. I walked a road not often talked about, that of being married but living apart, of keeping my vows to the best of my ability while maintaining boundaries for my own well-being and that of my children, of loving my husband from a distance. I never wanted our separation, but I was technically the one to walk away, even though I knew that, in his brokenness, my husband might never find the strength to follow.
I lived in that Holy Saturday space, when all seems lost and there is nothing to do but wait or despair. When the drama of the rendering of ties and life and loyalties is over, and everything seems dead. But the disciples are still hanging around in Jerusalem, not ready to walk away yet, not sure what there is to hope for. Maybe making plans for an eventuality never anticipated.
My mother is a big advocate of celebrating Easter in the parish where you spent Lent. You go through Lent together, it’s right that you share Easter.
And that’s why I’m sharing this with you, my readers. You shared my grief. You should share what comes after.
Last night, at the Easter Vigil, we sang one of my favorite Easter hymns. When we came to the last verse, I couldn’t contain an almost-painful joy.
When our hearts are saddened, grieving or in pain,
By Your touch You call us back to life again;
Fields of our hearts that dead and bare have been:
Love is come again, like wheat that springs up green.
I looked down the pew and saw my husband standing with our three children, and my heart and my eyes overflowed, and I knew it was time to share my joy, after a year of pondering it, nurturing it close to my heart.
My husband and I separated 5 and a half years ago, in the midst of a lot of pain and confusion. Last May, 11 months ago, we reconciled.
And no amount of Easter morning puke can tarnish the joy I felt last night, standing together, my family whole again. Love, springing up green where everything had been cold and dead and dry for so long.
Christ is risen! Alleluia!
I don’t know what the future holds for us. I don’t know that this is “happily ever after.” Christ died not to give us guarantees, but to point us to the Way of His love. He gives us a choice. We have to make the choice over and over again. And we never know what life might throw at us along the way.
There will be sin. There will be grief. Lent will come again.
But today is Easter.
CHRIST IS RISEN!
TRULY HE IS RISEN!
ALLELUIA! ALLELUIA! ALLELUIA!
Image CC0 Public Domain, via https://pixabay.com/en/sprout-bustling-with-life-spring-2085848/