Some good friends are going through a terrible trial, a personal Lenten journey that will stretch beyond 40 days: serious illness, violent treatment, unknown prognosis, a new reality.
Early in their journey, they're also finding the love of family, the support of friends, the kindness of caregivers, the comfort of their God.
I'm a theological fool, a doctrinal baby, a Scriptural skimmer. And as much as I dislike Lent--I see no sense in taking more suffering upon ourselves, especially when, at any moment, we may be given more than we ever imagined--I love Easter. I know: without Lent there is no Easter. I guess I say: it's always Lent.
And, it's always Easter.
These days of daylight savings time, the sunrise comes late to the party, every day. I'm getting up in the dark once again. Yet by the time I leave the house, the windows show gray; still it comes, still it comes, still it comes, every day.
When I was a kid, we went to sunrise service on Easter, and it was led by the youth group. I was asked one year to give the sermon; I have no clue why they didn't pick the serious boy who would go on to be a preacher; why pick the girl who talked too much and laughed too hard? Yet they did, and regretted it: I mentioned a drive-in movie in my "sermon" -- something about "young lovers kissing" -- and I think they're still laughing about, and regretting, my homily. I have no clue today what I was getting at. Nothing very profound. Yet even with my bad introduction...Easter came.
Just today, I read a news story about a young man who had a bad ATV wreck; he was declared brain dead; his organs were about to be harvested. A relative touched his hand, saying goodbye: his hand moved. And it shouldn't have. Touched his hand again: moved it again. Touched his foot: it moved. Long story short: Guy wasn't dead, after all. Kept his organs for himself.
He had his Easter; his long therapy to recover has been his Lent. Sometimes they're all mixed up.
So it is for my friends. Somewhere ahead lies their Easter: no matter what happens, no matter when, they will find they are born again.
As we are, every day, sometimes in little ways, sometimes, big. Alleluia.
How about you?