Walking Seven Miles

I wrote this piece for SheLoves Magazine in May and completely forgot to share it here. I think that’s pretty indicative of the state of our lives right now… Even though the words were written during the Easter season, I still think about walking those seven miles away from Jerusalem. We’re still grieving small and big losses, still living in the tension of the unknown. I thought I’d post it now, at the height of summer, as a reminder that the Easter spirit can be yearlong. Here’s an excerpt; head over to SheLoves to read the full article!

First came our stay-at-home orders. They went into effect in mid-March, right at the part of Lent when my forty-day practice felt less Draw-closer-to-Jesus and more Oh-no-I-forgot-to-practice-Lent! Our entire state was asked to give up friendships, gatherings, church and school, as well as all markers of normalcy. Lent was put into real-life practice and felt so very appropriate.

Then Easter came. We practiced communion on the couch with the week’s school activities still strewn about all available surfaces. It was an Easter where we leaned into the hope of resurrection, dreaming of our own societal resurrection at the end of quarantine life.

Now, we’re still here. Some places around the world are slowly opening up, trying to put new systems in place to establish new norms. The newness has worn off our shelter-in-place. Our house is no longer as clean or as sanitized as it was in the early days. Now that we have a decent school routine established, the days blend together in a kind of fogginess. Our highs are higher and our lows are lower. And even though there are projected dates to start easing up on restrictions, the end isn’t really in sight.

In the church calendar, we’re in Eastertide right now. These are the fifty days between the resurrection of Jesus and his ascension back into Heaven. In these days, Jesus appeared to groups of his disciples and news spread of his return. But not everyone got the news right away.

One of my favorite stories is about two disciples walking away from Jerusalem on the road to Emmaus, a town about seven miles away.

As they were walking and talking about Jesus’ death, Jesus himself appeared beside them and asked them what they were talking about. I love how the New Living Translation tells it, “They stopped short, sadness written across their faces.” (v17)

Luke felt the need to describe how these two looked in the midst of a great crisis. Sadness was written on their faces. When I read those words again recently, I stopped there. Normally, I love this story because it reminds me that God is often found when we are walking away from the center of religion. Today I love it, because I am reminded that God acknowledges the sadness written on our faces.

God showed such tenderness toward these two grief-stricken disciples. Head over to SheLoves to read the rest!

How are you experiencing God walking alongside you these days?

Building A Foundation of Feasting

I feel like you’d be happier all by yourself in an apartment in Paris than here with us. Frank and I were talking about this stressful season when I’m alone with the girls and he’s alone at work.

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Photo by Paul Dufour on Unsplash

My mind drifted to my freshman year in Paris when we would gather in my friend’s chambre de bonne at the very top of a building right in the midst of the city. We’d open her loft window, swing out onto the scaffolding, and climb to the rooftop with glasses of wine in hand. We’d sit and watch the Eiffel Tower twinkle on one side while the dome of Les Invalides glowed in the night. I imagined living in such a spot for a month – just long enough to immerse myself in all the quaint and beautiful pieces of Paris while leaving before the seven-flight trek up the stairs with groceries or walking down the hall for the bathroom would get old.

Frank nudged me and said, Don’t respond too quickly! In his perfect world, he would come home to the exuberant embrace of his family, the pack all piled together. In my perfect world, he’d come home and I’d retreat to an hour or so of absolute silence.

The reflective season of Lent has passed and we’re into the joyful season of Eastertide. For the next fifty days, the church celebrates Christ’s resurrection in this time before Pentecost. It’s a season of feasting and proclamation that Christ has risen, indeed.

We have two more weeks until the end of tax season and then our family will celebrate its own version of feasting and joy. We’ll head out of town to reconnect outside of our normal routines and come home to a period of re-entry when we all learn to function as a family of four again.

In a lot of ways, this tax season has been one of the hardest for our communication. There are a lot of unknowns; the girls are in different phases; I’m involved in different types of things. The only constant with tax season is that every year is different – what we learned last year may or may not apply this year. And so, we need to feast and be joyful. It may not come naturally at first and feasting may look different for each of us. For Frank, he needs to feast on proximity with his family; for me, I’ll need to feast on solitude in the midst of reconnection. We’ll need to be intentional and extend lots of grace.

But the underlying spirit is one of celebration. Just like we’re celebrating spring and resurrection and new life, we’ll be celebrating this time as a family again. It doesn’t mean that every single moment will be happy and picture perfect but I need to remember that the point of it all is redemption and newness.

How do you celebrate this season of spring and redemption? What are things you’d like to be feasting on after Lent?