Friends, I’ve got an unexpected treat for you today: although I usually only post once guest voice a week, you’re getting two this week. It may not come as much of a surprise, that as this season is likely hard for you, it’s hard for me too. Sometimes I feel like I’m going batty NOT writing, then when (and if) I get the time to sit down and write, I’m so exhausted, no words seem to pour out of my fingers. That’s okay. It’s the now. As such, Andrew Taylor-Troutman’s essay, “Indeed” is for the now as well. Enjoy.
When I was a boy, my excitement about the annual Easter sunrise service was not at all like the delirium I experienced on Christmas morning. It was more somber and mysterious. It was more like that feeling when you know a special secret.
Our mother would gently shake my younger brother and me awake when it was still dark outside. After brushing our teeth and raking a wet comb through our hair, we’d woof down a bowl of cereal while our parents drank their coffee standing up, leaning against the kitchen sink in view of the digital clock on the microwave. It was a countdown.
The dishes were left in the sink and we bundled against the cold. Dad glided the station wagon down the empty streets. Neighborhoods were dark and the stars shone above the treetops. The only sound was the occasional click-click of the turn signal. It felt like we were breaking a rule, which both thrilled and worried me as we drove under the archway entrance of the historic downtown cemetery.
As I walked away from the parked car, the horizon began to brighten. Birdsong filled the air. The wet grass shined slick underneath a polished moon. Tombstones rose from the ground. I shivered and not just from the cold. I was always careful to stay on the path, thus steering clear of the graves. This was the only morning of the entire year when I would willingly hold Mom’s hand.
Parishioners emerged from their cars and quietly came alongside us as if we were caught in a current. In a sense, I suppose we were. Even in the dim light, I recognized each face. But there were none of the usual exchange of pleasantries. Only the code words: The Lord is risen. He is risen indeed. That particular “indeed” felt like a password.
We gathered on top of a hill. Then the brass band punctuated the hushed darkness with a bright sound.
The ceremony itself was a blur. The liturgy ran downhill from singing to scripture to prayer. After Dad pronounced the benediction, everyone shook hands like it was any other Sunday and we just happened to be standing outside. Now it was daylight and the graves were once again harmless.
Settling back in our car, warmed by the promise of doughnuts on the way home, I would always feel like something important had just happened. Something that took place in that darkness that I didn’t have the words to explain. Something that felt grown-up. Grown-up indeed.
I know – grown-up indeed. Kind of wish I’d written it too. Grateful for your words today, Andrew. Readers, if you have something kind to say, please share in the comments, otherwise, be sure to check out Andrew’s essay from a couple months ago. He is risen, indeed!