Easter is an over-the-top day of fullness. Many of us rise early, “while it is still dark” as the scriptures describe, and gather for worship at near sunrise. Worship for those of us who make a home in the Christian household is also over-the-top. Big music. Big words. Big crowds. Big. All this is as it should be. We are after all declaring the biggest story of Life and the inability of anything, especially, death, to overcome the urgency and pulse of this Life that breathes through all Creation and has done so from the beginning. Big.
This ‘bigness’ is usually accompanied by gathering with family and friends, meals filled with traditions that cannot be tampered with and all other manner of activities….egg hunts….walks to look for burgeoning signs of spring….doses of longed-for sunshine…..naps. Fullness.
Yesterday, in between the bigness of a morning filled with worship and the meal that was to come, we took a leisurely drive around a couple of the Twin Cities lakes. Like prisoners released from winter confinement, people were streaming along the walking paths. Dressed in everything from Easter finery to shorts and halter tops, it was a sight of freedom, colorful freedom. With our windows rolled down to let in the sounds of birds and shouts of children riding bikes, we overheard this short interchange between a mother and her young son.
“Mom, what are we gonna do when we get home?”,the boy yelled as he brought up the rear of a procession of the family making their way around the lake. “Sit.”, answered the mother. There was no response to what may have sounded like a preposterous idea to this youngster. We laughed out loud!
Sit. In the midst of what had already been a no doubt full day, the answer to what would be next on the agenda was simple. Sit. I loved this mother for her attention to what was probably needed most.
Most of us are pretty good at filling our days with long lists of what must be done even on days that are not made of the fullness of Easter. It has been my experience that there is a certain level of addiction to busyness and when we are presented with the opportunity to ‘sit’, it can be a twitchy, troublesome time. Days off can be stuffed full of the household tasks that nag us. There are always bills to pay, laundry to be done, exercises that beg to find a home in our muscles. This is to say nothing of the stack of books and articles that have piled up for the’when I have a moment’ time.
This experience of mother and son reminded me of a a few sentences I had read earlier in the week in a Lenten devotional by Jan Richardson: “Can it be that stillness is a journey, too? Can it be that waiting offers its own road, one that, instead of propelling us outward, spirals us inward? Is it possible that waiting is part of how a way is made for us?”
I am imagining those early followers of Jesus making their way in the days after they have found the tomb empty. Someone might have asked the question “What are we going to do when we get home?” Because I love Mary Magdelene so, I can imagine her saying, “Sit.” Sit in the stillness and come to some understanding of the journey. Sit while we come to rest in our inward wisdom. Sit until we can allow memory and grief to hold hands. Sit as a way was being made for them.
After the bigness of Easter comes the rest of our days. How we walk those ordinary, not-so-over-the-top days, tells the real story of resurrection. What are we going to do when we get home?
For awhile, I plan to sit.