Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Thoughts on Easter... a few days late

So I had a cultural exchange with an embassy and an Egg-stravaganza on Saturday... 3 big meal events (to which I took Chinese dumplings for brunch, carrot cake for lunch, and funeral potatoes for dinner!) and an Easter program narration and choir on Sunday... and a prospectus due to my study group last night... so here, at long last, because I know you are standing by (to use the words of Wolf Blitzer, thanks to Jill who gave me a fancy Wolf Blitzer bookmark)...I believe in the power of paradox. For some reason that has been the Easter message reverberating through my thoughts this season. I mean there is the obvious: death to life, night to day, winter to spring. And the abstract: despair to hope, bitterness to love, empty to full.
We found the most incredible neighborhood of cherry blossoms--Kenwood, in Bethesda--seriously, the White Way of Delight

I'm so grateful that Easter comes around once a year. And, in reality, I need it more often, because my life is full of paradox. The Easter process needs to become more constant in my life, which means I need to open my eyes and my ears and my heart to experience it more often.Tidal Basin--one of the most magical places on earth during the Cherry Blossom Festival. One of my most favorite DC moments...

I love this Christina Rossetti poem, shared by Matt Bowman. I think it expresses my thoughts. You really should read it aloud. Go on... it must be savored orally...

Resurrection Eve

He resteth: weep not;
The living sleep not
With so much calm.
He hears no chiding
And no deriding,
Hath joy for sorrow,

For night hath morrow,

For wounds hath balm,

For life's strange riot

Hath death and quiet.

Who would recall him

Of those that love him?

No fears appall him,

No ills befall him;

There's nought above him
Save turf and flowers
And pleasant grass.

Pass the swift hours,

How swiftly pass!

The hours of slumber

He doth not number;

Grey hours of morning
Ere the day's dawning;
Brightened by gleams

Of the sunbeams,

By the foreseeing

Of resurrection,

Of glorious being,

Of full perfection,

Of sins forgiven

Before the face

Of men and spirits;

Of God in heaven,

The resting-place

That he inherits.

I believe the value of Easter comes in the understanding the need to wait for it. To be patient. To know that things will be made right and life and hope and love and truth will come. It's in that moment when I decide to hold it out, to see the light and the buds and the beginnings of it. That is why I share this other poem, also shared by Matt, by T.S. Eliot.

From "East Coker."

I said to my soul, be still, and let the dark come upon you
Which shall be the darkness of God. As, in a theatre,
The lights are extinguished, for the scene to be changed
With a hollow rumble of wings, with a movement of darkness on darkness,
And we know that the hills and the trees, the distant panorama
And the bold imposing facade are all being rolled away—
Or as, when an underground train, in the tube, stops too long between stations
And the conversation rises and slowly fades into silence
And you see behind every face the mental emptiness deepen
Leaving only the growing terror of nothing to think about;
Or when, under ether, the mind is conscious but conscious of nothing—
I said to my soul, be still, and wait without hope
For hope would be hope for the wrong thing; wait without love,
For love would be love of the wrong thing; there is yet faith
But the faith and the love and the hope are all in the waiting.
Wait without thought, for you are not ready for thought:
So the darkness shall be the light, and the stillness the dancing.


Birdie in DC said...

love it. you are so wise! Easter is by far my favorite holiday-- thanks for celebrating with us even when you had so many other things to do!!

M said...

Beautiful photos and poems and thoughts.