Painting by Roos Schuring
For a lover of words, I find them hard to find at times. Especially when I need them to mark, understand, or articulate large events felt and only partially understood. So I look to other’s words, and I find mine there. e.e. cumming’s poem is my spring and my Easter understanding. Sometimes barrowing other’s ideas and words for a bit can help unearth our own.
i thank You God for most this amazing
day: for the leaping greenly spirits of trees
and a blue true dream of sky; and for everything
which is natural which is infinite which is yes
(i who have died am alive again today,
and this is the sun’s birthday; this is the birth
day of life and of love and wings: and of the gay
great happening illimitably earth)
how should tasting touching hearing seeing
breathing any—lifted from the no
of all nothing—human merely being
doubt unimaginable You?
(now the ears of my ears awake and
now the eyes of my eyes are opened)
This past week I looked at the calendar and saw that the first day of Passover began on March 26th. Two years, I thought to myself. Two years to the day of the last time I touched and saw her. It didn’t make me sad, or extremely full, it was just an observation. Comfort came in knowing it was her time. I always hated that phrase, how people so assuredly said , “oh but it was their time”. But, if I’m honest, I did feel it was hers. Throughout the day I began to love that her date was on Passover. I suppose my joy and satisfaction with numbers, anniversaries, and symbolic concoctions were in fact tied to her love of them. As was her amazement for the green trees and blue skies – the love of poems and words – all resounding reminders of infinity tied or anchored to my thanks for them as well. My grandma was another mother to me. Saying goodbye is now a sweet holy missing. The kind where I can look back and feel more alive from going through the goodbye.
My mind wandered to old questions I once thought, and I again wondered we didn’t celebrate Passover, Palm Sunday, or Good Friday in a more pronounced way. I used to think our church with its Christ centered focus would definitely mark such events. As I slowly learned more and read about these holidays I understood and was told that our church chooses to focus and celebrate the Resurrection of Christ more than his Crucifixion and death. However, the beautiful imagery captured in the streams of people waving palm leaves down the street, or picturing a feast of worshipers sitting down to break unleavened bread together at a Passover celebration, or the allure of Good Friday as a holy day continue to fascinate me. I’m drawn to the tapestry of all these events; the layered symbolism threaded through such pilgrimages beckons to me. I love the rich symbolism found in celebrating God’s protection of us through the Passover, while acknowledging the goodness and victory signified with palm leaves announcing “Zion’s King” (Zechariah 9:9). And because He died, we live. Though those events mark the death, they must also be reminders of illimitably; a great happening of life after death. My mind returned to the calendar and thought of her own illimitably presence though gone, still around me.
As my mind drifted, my senses felt the memory. It was warm, and I was half asleep curled up on the twin bed in the room when I heard my mom’s voice call mine, only to be followed by her own mom’s long last breath. And she was gone. My grandma chose to leave during the short moment when people were making a phone call, or briefly stepped out of the room – the weight of exhaustion heavy. People often say loved ones have a hard time going as well. In silence, we, the women of her world proceeded to touch her hands and her cheeks and looked upon her soft skin – listened for more breath, but none came. It cannot be, but doubt lifted from my body, and I knew she was alive.
Our own pilgrimage of holy weeks awaken the soul to feelings of joy and pain. The good kind of cleansing of the heart. It is broken and healed because we know. Even if exact knowledge or belief can’t be accessed, the ears awake and the eyes are open to a new world of doubt and belief coexisting. The journey of the Savior’s last days will be something I won’t fully comprehend, but I’m beginning to see death is a way to his Resurrection. The types and personal experiences remind us not only of his infinite being, but to ours, our family’s, and our infinite journey. Two years teaches, enriches, diminishes, and reminds, and I’m glad to celebrate it on the holy week with Christ.