20 April 2020

The Quietest Alleluia

Its the Lent, Holy Week, and Easter (for some reason!) Jesus wants us to have, I remind myself.

What a simple Easter this year, the quietest Alleluia I have ever known.

And yet, I wouldn't change much.

For over the last month or so, life has changed in ways I never dreamed possible. I think all of us feel that way.

There are days I (still) am in shock at how different life looks.

Not seeing any of my immediate family or friends was a difficult transition at first, especially living alone. Thankful for the security of my parish job, I have adjusted to working from home and mastered the art of leading reflections and retreats on Zoom for people in RCIA.

My family perfected our collective Zoom skills by sharing a virtual Easter dinner together and have arranged a handful of quarantine care package drop-offs and hugs through windows.

The first few weeks of this new existence for me were just plain hard, as is for many of us. I consumed too much media and news coverage on the growing number of cases in my state to the point I was losing all my peace. 

I burst into tears at the thought of not seeing my family at Easter. I had to adjust to not getting a hug from my boyfriend and learned to savor our nightly FaceTime dates of prayer and connection.

I navigated the days where I used peanut butter M&M's and Easter candy as a way for dealing with the anxiety, stress, and fear of the future.

Slowly, as days crept by, I developed a new rhythm.

I tried news forms of exercise and kept up my running outside. I read more books, enjoyed streamed symphony performances while folding laundry, and sent out over 50 love notes to friends and seniors in the parish where I work.

I disconnected from social media and have had more silence in my daily prayer.

These days are uncertain, overwhelming at times. There are so many things to consider or get worked up about that I could probably give myself an ulcer.

As the days pass, more of us know people who have gotten sick, died, or have family members in the medical field on the front lines of battling this virus.

We all have losses to grieve, messy ways of learning this new normal, and fears that we are trying to deal with.

About three weeks ago, as I was navigating this new existence, I posed a question to Jesus one morning.

Jesus, what are you teaching me here?

That question proved so fruitful, I decided to paint a colorful reminder of it in my apartment.

I sat with that question in the stillness each morning.

What I heard spoken back to me? 

Radical dependance. 

The world around and inside me is teaching me radical dependance. There's so much more to this that I have been unpacking in prayer.

But I share that with you as an invitation; gentle encouragement to ask Jesus what he is teaching you right here, right now.

What is Jesus teaching you in this space?

As the weeks pass on, life adjusts more to this new normal. I look forward to the smells and sounds of spring and freshness around me.

I look forward eagerly to the day I can go on coffee dates with friends, hug my parents, and go out to dinner with my boyfriend.
There are things we all miss and want to return to normal.

But there are some things I don't want to go back as they were. 

I am learning what radical dependance looks and feels like right now. How will it develop and change when life after quarantine resumes a bit more?

Time will tell.

This year was the quietest alleluia that ever was, perhaps similar to the first one uttered that first Easter morning.

I hope as life resumes and things open up again we each are changed in profound ways.

I pray that for myself and the world as these days pass.

Asking Jesus that one question has been a good spiritual practice for me right now.
I pray it is one that bears fruit and insight in your life too.

Sending you light and love this Easter season, friends!

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