It is Easter morning.

The sun is rising over the lake, and high in a tree, a single bird is chirping. Lately, more and more, there seems to be a competition between my bladder and lower back as to who will get me out of bed the earliest. This was one of those mornings. And so, I have been awake for an hour, drinking coffee in a dark, silent, house.

Our birds flew back into the nest for the weekend. There will be Easter baskets to find when they wake up. They are under the mistaken impression that I do this for them. The baskets remind me that once, there were small humans living with us who giggled and bickered and left crumbs and candy wrappers everywhere like two chipmunks. Those were good days. These are good days, too. If we’re lucky, some day there will be grandchipmunks who visit and look for Easter baskets, just like their parents did. I’m crossing my fingers on this.

This morning, we will pay a visit to the Methodists and sing the hymn about Jesus rising. And then, later there will be ham, cheesy potatoes, and carrot cake with cream cheese frosting here at home. After that, our chipmunks will go back to adulting, and life will return to whatever passes for normal for all of us.  The snow pile by the driveway will continue to melt, and the baskets will be stored away for another year.

And so, whoever you are, and whatever you believe about the things you believe in, I hope that this April day and the blessed re-birth that is springtime gives you more joy than pain. More laughter than tears. More togetherness, than loneliness. More singing, than silence. A chipmunk, or two, to warm your heart.

Happy Easter.





The laws of healing

I learned about pendulums and motion at the age of three when the sharp, metal seat of a swing connected with the bridge of my nose. Every summer after that, once my face was sun-tanned, a thread-like, white scar re-appeared to remind me of that day by the swing set. By the time I started school, scars the size of quarters on each knee were proof that I had also developed a rudimentary grasp of gravity and friction the hard way.

In my teen years, I had a part-time job as a cook. It was the hardest job I ever had. I have the scars from sharp knives and deep fat fryers to prove it. A girl can learn a lot about what she doesn’t want to do for the rest of her life by dumping heavy pans of french fry oil into a sticky, rancid, barrel behind a restaurant. Yuck.

As a young mom, I tripped going down some steps from the garage into the house while carrying one of my toddlers. As I fell, and to avoid landing directly on my son, I somehow managed to twist in mid-air, and landed on my right elbow instead. There was a lot of blood. Thankfully, none of it was his.

The scars we collect throughout our lives offer a road map of the accidents and surgeries we’ve endured. They remind us of the things that happened that were beyond our control. The things that terrified us and brought us to our knees. Our maps are as individual as our fingerprints. They tell our story.

I was thinking about this recently as I was visiting with old friends after the memorial service for the husband of one of our other friends. We are all women nearing the age of sixty. Losing the people we love, and comforting friends who’ve lost theirs, is the hard and yucky part of growing older. That day, I was sporting a bandage on my wrist from my most recent refresher course in the laws of physics.

Some wounds heal quickly. Before too long, the one under the bandage will be replaced by a scar that looks like an almond. We hurt, and we heal. We are torn, and then we mend. It is far more complicated for our sweet, sad, friend. Her wounds are more complex and profound. For now, we are helpless to do much for her but gather, hug, eat egg salad sandwiches, and tell her she’s loved.

Fully aware, as we pray for her healing to begin, that the scar that’s forming will reside in her heart.