On my walk this Easter morning, I had no Sabbath Moment prepared, so, the fretting needled my spirit. There’s still a part of me that is tangled by keeping score, and melancholy on Easter is frowned upon, so is something best concealed.
Gratefully, as it is with the healing power of nature, the walk became a balm, and a retreat. A gift of Easter sanctuary. Cool temperatures but sun drenched for the three miles (today’s sun a lovely treat for us). With no houses or humans through the woodlands, but plenty of wild and living friends, I could feel my spirit settle.
Beginning with the rare visit from a young coyote, content to lounge away the early morning, resting on the hoar frosted grass near the pond. And our geese, for very good reasons, have decided to spend this Easter morning elsewhere.
On sun saturated fairways, a large congregation of Robins engage in their annual Easter “worm hunt”.
(And I remember childhood egg hunts, and the tears from cousins who considered it unfair, as they never could find the golden egg.)
A family of deer munch and skirt the edges of the forest, nibbling on Cedar branches.
Poised by the water, a blue heron, regal and unruffled, waits for breakfast to happen by.
On my return, at the feeder a red wing blackbird is swashbuckling for Mrs. Blackbird. And a Northern Flicker parades her exquisite coat. It all does my heart good. These are gifts of grace. And I say Happy Easter to each.
There are times when my spirit goes dark (and the weight of our world now, doesn’t help), and I’m afraid to speak of it to anyone. Or fess up. (Perhaps you can relate?)
And yet, what better day to let the light shine on the dark, than Easter?
Because you see, here’s the deal: We are, every single one of us, wounded. And that is a gift.
We are, every single one of us, broken. And that is a gift.
We are blessedly human, and no one of us is on this journey alone. That too, is a gift.
Yes, I know. It doesn’t always feel that way (especially when you keep checking the scorecard).
When I do look, I often don’t see any gift. Because I see brokenness and woundedness as impediments or disabilities, to be tidied up, overcome, or prayed away.
What I don’t see, is the invitation to befriend my brokenness.
The invitation to embrace beauty and wonder; the sacred in the ordinary.
The invitation of Easter.
This from Katie Jensen, “As we broke the bread, we repeated the traditional words, ‘This is Christ’s body, broken for you.’ But then the receiver, taking the piece of bread would answer ‘but brokenness is never the end of the story.’
Indeed that is the resounding message of Easter. Brokenness is never the end of the story—not for Jesus, not for us, not for this world. Though often the plot twists and settings of our lives take crazy turns and at times the world often looks bleak and heartless, we can trust with Easter hope that our stories aren’t over yet.”
Brazilian writer and journalist Fernando Sabino’s reminder, “In the end, everything will be (all right). If it’s not (all right), it’s not the end.”
There is a line from Gerard Manley Hopkins’s “The Wreck of the Deutschland,” (poem published in 1918 about a deadly shipwreck)… “As we ‘let him easter in us, be a dayspring to the dimness of us, be a crimson-cresseted east’, let us acknowledge the dim places, particularly at the communal and political levels of our lives, and let us long, pray and look for the ways in which light creeps in to them, the dayspring potential for a brand new, resurrection day.” (Thank you Judy Rigby)
Ahhh Yes. “Easter, here, is a verb. It is not only an event but it’s something that happens to us and in us. This poem and prayer asks that Jesus transform our lives, that he rise not just in a tomb but in us as well, that the piercing light of the Resurrection fall on the darkness in our cramped selves.” (Tish Harrison Warren)
One hundred years ago, in 1922, Margery Williams wrote my favorite story was written about brokenness and authenticity and healing. And the power of resurrection. And one of my very favorite stories to tell…
“What is REAL?” asked the Rabbit one day, when they were lying side by side near the nursery fender, before Nana came to tidy the room. “Does it mean having things that buzz inside you and a stick-out handle?”
“Real isn’t how you are made,” said the Skin Horse. “It’s a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real.”
“Does it hurt?” asked the Rabbit.
“Sometimes,” said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. “When you are Real you don’t mind being hurt.”
“Does it happen all at once, like being wound up,” he asked, “or bit by bit?”
“It doesn’t happen all at once,” said the Skin Horse. “You become. It takes a long time. That’s why it doesn’t happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in your joints and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are Real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.”
“I suppose you are real?” said the Rabbit. And then he wished he had not said it, for he thought the Skin Horse might be sensitive. But the Skin Horse only smiled.
“The Boy’s Uncle made me Real,” he said. “That was a great many years ago; but once you are Real you can’t become unreal again. It lasts for always.”
(Velveteen Rabbit, Margery Williams)
Yes. Let him easter in us.
And let us easter in one another–spilling healing, and new beginnings, and renewal, and the light of new life–this week… brokenness is never the end of the story.
This past weekend, as Passover, Easter, and Ramadan converged, a gift to invite us to pray for peace, and the remembrance that no one of us is one this journey alone.
And prayer for many Ukrainians who spent the holy season under siege, hiding in basements. And prayers for those who did not live to see the holiday at all.
The books this week that did my heart good. Frank Bruni’s, The Beauty of Dusk and Jinks Hoffman’s, The Light of God’s Shadow and Paul Farmer’s, To Repair the World.
Quote for you week… The world breaks everyone and afterward many are strong in the broken places. Ernest Hemingway
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Today’s Photo Credit: “Tacoma (WA) waterfront at sunrise… Happy Palm Sunday to you,” Marguerite… Thank you Marguerite, the photo was so nice, I kept it for Easter… Keep sending your photos… send to terryhershey.com
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Letters that do my heart good…
–Hi Terry, Thank you so much for today’s message and all of them. I am a dancer. 25 years of ballet and teaching others to dance years ago. It led me to liturgical dance for a season and now I try to live in the reality that life itself is a dance. So many times you have helped me with that, bringing me back to a place of joy and thankfulness in the reality of my journey. Thank you for being you. Gloria
–Dear Terry – Gratitude in my heart for all that you give. Thank you seems like two small words, but, it is truly the essence of everything you have given in your Sabbath Moments during some challenging years for a lot of people. Thank you for being there. You and our Morro Rock. Best always, Karen
–I really needed this today. It seems I am dealing with a bunch of stuff and I have forgotten the Mary side of me. I have the Martha side down pat but the Mary gets lost. Martha
POEMS AND PRAYERS
I don’t really know what heaven is – but I suspect you might have to look sideways, from just where you are, to see it. –John Davies
On this Easter morning, let us look again at the lives we have been so generously given and let us let fall away the useless baggage that we carry — old pains, old habits, old ways of seeing and feeling — and let us have the courage to begin again. Life is very short, and we are no sooner here than it is time to depart again, and we should use to the full the time that we still have.
We don’t realize all the good we can do. A kind, encouraging word or helping hand can bring many a person through dark valleys in their lives. We weren’t put here to make money or to acquire status or reputation. We were sent here to search for the light of Easter in our hearts, and when we find it we are meant to give it away generously.
May the spirit and light of this Easter morning and the special spirit and light of this abbey at Corcomroe bless us all, watch over us and protect us on our journey, open us from the darkness into the light of peace and hope and transfiguration.
John O’Donohue, Dawn Mass Reflections at Corcomroe Abbey,
Walking in Wonder
After the Rain
Stay here and watch a while.
Rest in the stillness of the rain soaked garden,
While the rising breeze ripples through memories of His Passion,
stirring the willow fronds to scourge the air with tender green blows.
The holly trembles, its spikes an evergreen echo
of piercing thorns.
Naked branches thrust their hard and searching fingers to the sky.
Fingers that probed, ripped, stripped,
nailed and hammered.
Beaten by the lash of stinging rain,
the daffodils, heavy headed,
bend their bedraggled beauty to the earth.
And so I sit and wait and watch,
While distant traffic heedlessly rumbles those who cannot
stay a while, to other destinations.
And fresh arrived upon the scene a scampering squirrel
and a darting blackbird,
with keener eyes than mine and thoughts more innocent,
see only signs of resurrection.
Margaret Thomas (host with Quiet Garden Movement and poet