Thursday of Easter Week
Sluggish with sleepiness I watch the clouds turn salmon and dusky purple and begin to glow in predawn resplendence. It occurs to me that I need to order gold leaf today, and I reach for a pen and paper to make a list: buy toilet paper and tomato juice at the grocery store and gesso and gold leaf online; make a deposit.
It’s a work day in the week after Easter and we have allegedly returned to “normal”. My mind skitters away from that notion. Rosean was saying earlier that she has not yet made the transition from Holy Week to Easter in her soul. “The way we celebrate it, there are only thirty one or so hours between Jesus’ death and the resurrection,” she complained. “It’s too short.”
She is right. I decide it is for this reason that I can’t relate to any of the readings of the day, except perhaps for the passage from Ezekiel, about the Valley of the Dry Bones. And even in this reading I cannot go very far. I don’t make it past the moment of looking out across an immense pile of dry and dusty bones, scene of some great cataclysm. Skulls stare at me out of great black pools of darkness, and all their teeth are buried in the dirt.
After Holy Week what is there to say? The crucifixion has left me stunned, breathless. The agony and the death of the Son of Man – an earthquake, darkness, the removal of the body from the cross and the carrying of it to the tomb. And then there is the tomb’s deep silence and the darkness within, an absolute night.
Outside my house the sky brightens from dusky purple and salmon to bright orange and gold. I set my pen and paper aside. I know there are things growing in my soul, little seeds born out of the momentous Lent and Holy Week we have just journeyed through. I have tried to focus on them, even to talk about them, but they are not yet ready to be disclosed. But nor am I yet ready to return to normal time.
I doodle and stare out the window, wash the dishes, sweep the floor. Finally it occurs to me that what I really want to do is pray. So I sing a simple Taizé chant over and over again as I straighten the studio and sharpen my pencils.
“Bless the Lord, my Soul.
Bless God’s Holy Name.
Bless the Lord, my Soul.
Who leads us into life.”
And that for now is enough.
Laurie Gudim is a writer and religious iconographer who lives in Fort Collins, CO. You can view some of her work at Everyday Mysteries.
Image: By Werkstatt Lucas Cranachs () () [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons