I still have the Bible that Mom and Dad got me one Easter. That this Bible, a RSV, has a dark green cover, my favorite color, was one good fruit of the seventies. Nobody was going to make the parents raised in the Age of Aquarius stick to basic black on the leatherette covers. There are notes from Dad’s sermons, Sunday school, and a few attempts at poetry. The many scrawling notes confirm two things:
I never could spell.
The poetry helped me think about my feelings, but the published poet who told me that my poetry was most useful if left private was correct.
We must never leave making music, poetry, or art to the professionals, but my Dad’s wisdom is also valuable in this regard: “Share less.” What is good for family and friends may be perceived by anyone else as uncomfortable as the visit to an amateur dance recital done by people you do not know. Those who endure to the end will be saved.
Some times or jobs mean we should make private what could be public previously. Observing other educational leaders endorsing political candidates convinced me that they should have “shared less.” I stopped the practice when moving into a greater leadership role. Hope and I have had ups and downs in our marriage, after thirty-five years more ups than downs, but many of the details are private. Romance and intimacy flourish with privacy.
Do not misunderstand. Justice requires prophetic words. Truth needs telling. Oddly, however, the more pleasant the truth, the less it needs telling. Nobody needs a description of our “date night.” I fear that the pleasantness would just seem banal if put into our words.
Sometimes, even if we are in a good community, we put our notes in our Bible, the old one we have had since eight and give them to God.
Easter came four weeks early (!) this year for many Christians. As a result, the Orthodox are now standing on the edge of Pascha after many of our neighbors have moved on to summer shopping. This is Holy Saturday: a day of sharing less. The writers of the New Testament have little to say about the events of this day even though the day was filled with drama. Hell was being harrowed, but the first reaction to the longest day Christ was in the tomb was silence. The big events were not apparent to those writing the first draft of history.
How did they feel? We can only guess.
What did they do? We are mostly unsure.
They shared less on Saturday than the abundance of thought about Holy Friday or Pascha Sunday. They pondered all these things in their hearts, and though few, the hints, the theological notes in the margins, we are given would flower into rich theology later. On the first Holy Saturday, they shared less.
That is good permission for me. My Dad once said that as he got older, he had less to say. That is true, though what he says is wiser. As I get older, I too find less eagerness to opine. I wish to share less and ponder more. Perhaps that is because as we get older we are moving into the Holy Saturday of life: the waiting for eternal life. I hope that it is also some wisdom that knows that a thought may be kept for family, a feeling for God, and a poem just for my dear wife.
Tonight I will go to the evening lamentations and listen. This is a powerful service, but one that ends in beautiful silence.