Today is Easter Monday, and yesterday was perfect. The kind of perfect that isn’t perfect at all which is the way most of my perfection turns out these days.
I woke up early like the women who went to visit Jesus’ tomb. It was Easter, and I had work to do. I had pork tenderloin to wrap in bacon which symbolizes freedom from the Old Law. Or it symbolizes that I had pork in my freezer. Whatever. Bacon is from Jesus.
Sidenote: Bacon is not from Jesus. Jesus never ate pork. I have a hard time understanding Jesus as fully human without bacon. Or as fully divine. I have not yet reconciled all the disparate parts of my faith.
Anyway. I woke up early. I prepped our last-minute, throw-it-together Easter dinner. I congratulated myself for being on top of all the details.
And I congratulated myself for setting the coffee maker on auto the night before which is the mama’s version of resurrection.
And I congratulated myself for also remembering late at night to let the Tooth Fairy and the Easter Bunny in the door, both of whom broke with tradition by arriving completely sober and without chips.
And I congratulated myself for being kind to all my children in the morning, even the ones who demanded breakfast as though the mountain of chocolate and jellybeans was insufficient.
And then I ran out of time and became just a little defensive, bitter and angry.
And also a tiny bit self-centered.
And sort of sigh-ish and blame-y because Greg had 45 minutes to get ready, and I had 5 minutes, and oh, mornings. Especially church mornings. So full of promise and imminent failure.
I shoved my family out the door toward church, shooing them like bedraggled geese. Go, go, go. And I finished grooming myself and followed them with secret bits of self-reproach stuck to my clothes.
The sun was shining, though, which ruined everything if everything was my melancholy, and I realized I was celebrating Easter in grand tradition, just like Jesus’ disciples who meant well, started strong, and then fell asleep on the job and, generally speaking, totally blew it.
I have often wondered if the Church is the right place for me. Wondered, questioned, doubted, retreated, cautiously reengaged. It’s an old story for people in my generation. I look at the Church and our mangled message of Love which doesn’t look like Love at all when it uses words of superiority and condescension and control and distrust, and I feel like Mary at the tomb; They have taken my Lord away, and I don’t know where they’ve put him. But yesterday, I sat at the empty tomb while my pastor, Lynn, who claimed the unwanted and unexpected title of Widow last fall, and who knows what it means to lose her friend, preached news of Joy and Celebration and Restoration and Resurrection and Light. Light as a result of suffering. Light which shines because the vessel broke and let Love leak out all over us.
I remembered at the last minute that Jesus entrusted the entire Love message to a bunch of yahoos he called friends. A wild, unruly crowd of rule breakers, doubters, deniers and failures. People who blew it. And I thought, yes. These are my people. This band of misfits who got it wrong and wrong and right.
I didn’t set my oven timer right yesterday, and the pork was done an hour early. We ate at the wrong time, as soon as food was finished. We staged our usual obnoxious, slightly (totally) unsafe Easter egg hunt using principles from the Hunger Games. By the end of the day, my littlest boys and their cousin were down to their undies, playing in water from the hose and spraying each other in the face which was unkind. There was laughter and then yelling. And then laughter. And then yelling. The push-me-pull-you of imperfection, which is the root of friendship. And the beginnings of faith.
The Easter Bunny had a drink, and so did the Tooth Fairy. All afternoon. And we all sat in the sun until late, late, late. Because Love came back to life.