The Monday after Easter is often a rocky day for me. After the deep spiritual commitments of Holy Week and Easter, after the planning, the preaching, the music, the flowers, after the meals and the people and the weeping and the joy, I have a hard time entering ordinary time again, entering ordinary life again. It all comes down to a paradox: He is Risen. I have crashed.
This year was no exception. I ended Easter Day by taking a long walk in the park in the beautiful spring weather, marveling at the tulips and the redbuds and all the ways the earth has come back to life again. I read a good book. I prayed some. Then I slept for a long time….and woke into The Day After.
It began with praise before I nose-dived into all the things that needed to be done, all the ordinary cares pressing in upon me. All the weariness in my bones. I was about there when I went into the kitchen and saw the label on my loaf of olive bread: Caution. May Contain Pits. Well, I thought, that about says it.
The thing is, the loaf is so much better with the olives. They are chewy and salty and rich. They give it flavor, something to lift it out of the ordinary. We would not want an endless succession of just-the-same-Sundays, no feasts, no fasts, no Christmas, no Easter. Those special days lift us out of our ordinary selves, stretch our hearts and souls beyond what we had been. But it takes effort to remain transformed. It takes grace. There are growing pains involved with becoming a deeper, more true human being. That’s what Easter is about, isn’t it? It is the place where new life touches death.
St. Paul writes, “What you sow does not come to life unless it dies. And what you sow is not [what is] to be, but a bare kernel.” Those all-too-human days are the soil from which your life in Christ is sown. Those things that seem like pits? They’re the seeds, and we can only pray for grace to wait for the new trees to blossom.