I’m not sure I’ve ever had a dramatic Easter moment. Surely everything about the feast and the days leading up to it are dramatic, but I can’t remember an overwhelming “He is Risen!” moment stirring my heart on any of my Easter Sundays.
I kept a good Lent this year. Faithful in my observance of added prayer, fasting, and almsgiving, I managed to clear away a great deal of spiritual clutter and found ever more answers to the question “How can I be a more loving person?” As rewarding as my observance was, at my core I’m too passionate for solemn penitence, and I was desperate for the end of Lent about ten days before Easter.
The sun set late on Holy Thursday, another result of the late date of Easter this year. I had sung hymns and an aria during the service and was agitated and needed to clear my head. As the sun was finally setting and a few parishioners were settling in for the nightwatch, I collapsed into a pew to pray.
I set my eyes on the open tabernacle framed with tulips. I was exhausted and anxious and didn’t know what to say. It felt tacky to ask God for anything – haven’t I already been given enough? My forehead was rested against the heels of my hands which were awkwardly held open to Christ truly present in front of me. Take what’s bad, I thought. And then I thought of all the gifts I already have and all the lessons I’ve already learned, and realized I didn’t need to ask for anything new. What I needed was already there. I needed guidance on how to put those gifts to use.
I don’t have a dramatic Easter story. Rather, Easter is my coming home to life. I’m always ready when Easter comes around, not because I’m sick of adding prayer or eschewing indulgences, but because my nature is to rejoice. The same spiritedness I enjoyed on Fat Tuesday met me when I got home late after the Easter Vigil. We toasted the Resurrection with a few sips of wine, and I had some peanuts, just because I could.
We are an Easter people, oriented toward life, wired for joy, bound for glory. I feel no dramatic conversion today, just a re-acclamation of what I was made for – a life of hope, joy, and Alleluias.