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Holy Week in a house with two pastors is intense, to say the least. As the stress of planning extra services mounts, and as the rush of added activities soars, tempers can flare. Things fall through the cracks. Mistakes get made. Important stuff gets forgotten.
Right now, I have a vase of completely dead and drooping flowers sitting on a hutch in my dining area.
That feels like a metaphor.
It’s nothing short of a miracle that we remembered to help build a hanging art piece with our youngest this week, and we somehow managed to get all the unsold chocolate bars for the school fundraiser returned on time.
I spent a ridiculous amount of time trying to find my black dress shoes this morning, only to remember they were right where they belonged – in the closet.
I have eaten way more chocolate than is appropriate.
I walked out the door without my phone more than once.
I almost left my purse in three different places.
I could list off so many things that are a mess right now – like the dirty dishes I really should be washing instead of writing this – but I am sure I would forget to name a lot of them.
Because I’m all about forgetting things right now.
I promise I’m not doing it intentionally. It’s just that Holy Week is the mental to-do list Bermuda Triangle for me.
But, for all the temptation there is to complain about the extra services and added stress, something really beautiful happens every Holy Week in my family, too.
One Maundy Thursday, after a service at church, I came home and felt compelled to wash my children’s feet. That is a memory I will forever cherish.
At an ecumenical Good Friday service, I was overcome by the realization that the front row audience for my sins is my kids. I watched a mother hold a nail in place for her own child to hammer into the cross. Later, I held the nail in place for my own child.
One Holy Saturday, I woke up extra early to watch an eclipse. As the moon vanished and reappeared, I saw a celestial illustration of death and resurrection.
While cleaning up after an Easter service one year, I noticed a hand-written note on the communion table. My daughter had written, “God is alive. Yes, Yes, Yes!”
As we were getting the kids ready for bed early one Holy Saturday evening, I reminded the kids that we were going to bed early because we had to get up extra early. Rather than grumbling about the early bedtime, both kids spontaneously started sharing how much they love getting up extra early with us to welcome in the first rays of Easter light.
One year for Lent, we progressively darkened the sanctuary by covering up more windows each week. On Good Friday, we had darkened the stained glass picture of Jesus. Early on Easter morning – in between the sunrise service and Sunday School, my kids and I walked through the sanctuary. Upon seeing the lit up stained glass picture of Jesus, my youngest shouted, “JESUS IS BACK!”
Lent and Holy Week may bring out the ugly in a lot of areas in my life, but it’s a journey that is so profoundly real I would never change it. The flowers might be drooping in the vase, but my heart is full. In these full and frenzied days are moments when time stands still.
Each experience, sacramental.