Today is Easter. I grew up Episcopalian and during Lent, all of the celebration was deleted from the liturgy. In all the places where, during the rest of the year, we said “hallelujah,” the word was left out. I vividly remember my relief on Easter Sunday when the proclamation was back where it belonged in the familiar liturgy that I knew by heart, and I could joyfully and deliberately declare it once again. It meant that the dark weeks of Lent were over, the light and happiness flooded back in, and anything seemed possible.
I was thinking about that this morning and, as with most thoughts I think these days, how much of a parallel it held with my life now. How Lent was a time where life went on but with an overarching sadness and sacrifice that seemed to permeate everything. It’s why Easter was such a celebration, such a relief.
For me, now, it feels exactly the same way. It’s as if all of the “hallelujahs” have been removed from my life. I get up, show up, and walk through my day, sometimes with a face that defies what I’m feeling inside. I work out, put on makeup, work, cook, clean, and laugh at people’s jokes. But it’s all done without celebration. I’m constantly looking for the joy and most of the time I remember that it died (at least temporarily) when John died.
Sometimes I feel ok and little glimmers of hope seep in, but then another wave of unexpected sadness hits and I’m back at ground zero again. It’s a pretty exhausting process, all in all, and I’ll be glad when I’m past it. It’s better than it was a few weeks ago and I’m hoping each week will bring a little more light and a little less sad. Most of the time, I’d rather be anywhere than where I am now, without John.
The thing about Lent is that there’s a defined end to it. You know you can circle that Easter Sunday date on the calendar and look forward to the celebration. If you give something up for Lent, you know it’s temporary. You literally see the light at the end of the tunnel. That’s what’s missing for me now. It’s why grieving is so hard, because there’s no way of knowing when you’ll feel true joy again, when you’ll feel like you’re in control again. I’m plugging back in and walking through my life knowing it will happen, but the not knowing when is foreign and very difficult.
Luckily, Easter also comes as Mother Nature ushers in spring. More light, warm sunshine, and a world exploding with color and life will, hopefully, begin to add a few “hallelujah” moments back into my life as well. I’m counting on it and looking for them every day.