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Easter With A Heavy Heart


We are not supposed to be  a little, hmmm, bummed on Easter, are we? Nope, we are supposed to greet Easter morning with and "Alleluia" ringing on our lips, sharing the Easter candy and belting out those joyful hymns. Good Friday is now a distant memory, and we boldly proclaim, with St. John Paul II: "We are an Easter people and hallelujah is our song!"

But I'm a little sad today.

The terrifying incidents of Palm Sunday, as ISIS attacked our brothers and sisters, hangs like a pall over this Easter. How can one celebrate while burying a child?

None of my kids, save the one who lives with us, joined us today. That seemed so "thin" to me. I also saw many of my friends today with all their kids and grandkids, and yeah: I was jealous. I wonder if that will ever be for me.

I'm also missing my mom - still. So many things this week - Tigers baseball, the Triduum, visiting my niece and her family - just made me wish I could turn to Mom and say what was on my mind at that particular moment.

I feel like I failed Mom and Dad. They were so incredibly generous to us. We used much of the money they left us to update and refurbish our house ... which we ended up losing anyway. Did we waste it? Are they disappointed?

On top of that, the couple that had originally helped us out with the financing are part of our Franciscan circle. Every time I see them, I get angry. On one hand, I don't blame them a bit - the whole process took far longer than either of us had imagined and they  had every right to say "enough." On the other hand, I'm not sure what driving us out of our home accomplished. Either way, it cost us that relationship as well.

I'm still trying to figure out what and how much I can do after my surgery. I fear the pain so deeply that I'm afraid to do too much.

I remember that - even as Jesus broke the chains of death and walked out of that tomb - He was different, but still broken. The holes in His hands and feet, the wound in His side - they weren't healed. He bore those terrible wounds - they weren't even scars, as the disciples put their fingers in them! Even Christ was not immune from the pain of the past, the sadness of betrayal, the sorrow that lingers oh-so-thinly under the surface of the joy of Easter.

That's the thing: joy always has that thinly-veiled sorrow. We feel it as we watch our daughter walk down the aisle; there is beauty and happiness, but also a stab that our baby is no longer our own. We are filled with joy in knowing that a loved one died a holy death, but the sorrow of loss is always there. We welcome a new baby, and then realize that the world will never, ever be safe again.

Can we ever celebrate Easter with nothing but full-throttled, wide open happiness, seeing the Resurrected Jesus with nothing but joy? I suspect not, at least not on this side of Heaven. I will, though, sing the "Alleluias" and the Regina Caeli, I will wonder at the faith of the women who hurried to spread the news of the empty tomb, I will marvel that Christ did all this for me - me with all my sins, grudges, foibles and doubts.

Christ is Risen! He is truly Risen, Alleluia!

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