I arrive at church to serve as a greeter for the Good Friday service. It is cold outside, but inside is filled with warmth and love. Candles are lit. Communion is set out. Music is playing softly. I am home here. I stand at the door and try not to say “Good Morning” at 6:45 on Friday evening, but instead I say “Welcome!” “It’s so nice to see you.” I see friends. People are arriving straight from work, preparing for a sacred weekend, commemorating the death of Christ, and later celebrating His resurrection. I am grateful to be doing something other than work. I love church. I love Easter weekend. I need this time of quiet….to prepare my heart….to be still….to listen. The parking lot is full. The service has begun. I am invited in, out of the cold. And yet I remain. I listen to the hymns and I start to cry. I can’t go into the sanctuary. I am too….
Tired? Worn out? Sad? Unprepared? It is exactly what I need and yet I can’t go in. I sneak off into a room by myself. I listen to the music and cry.
Most of the time I am working on tax returns. Or eating. Searching for clean clothes…letting the dogs out…trying to sleep….watching TV….staring at my phone. Sometimes I spend time thinking about what I should be doing. What I’ll do after the tax deadline. I look at the calendar and count days, wondering if I’ll get through. Knowing I’m neglecting so many other things. Important things.
Other people are going on Easter egg hunts. They are buying groceries for family dinner. Wearing Easter clothes (with winter jackets) and decorating their houses with bunnies. They look happy. Maybe you are that person. I’m sincerely happy for you. I have times like that too.
Maybe you’re like me. Maybe you’re going through the motions. Maybe you’re trying to stay afloat. Maybe your desk is piled high…maybe your mail at home is unopened. Maybe you think it’s easier to wait for someone to call about a past due bill than to look at the daily postal deliveries. Maybe you eat crackers for meals sometimes.
Maybe when people ask how you are, you sometimes lie a little.
Maybe you just try to have as many days as possible that you’ve washed your face, washed your hair, and not eaten an entire pint of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream for dinner, all on the same day. You set this goal on a day when none of that is true, but you think it could be attainable on a different day, so you try.
If you’re sad and struggling like me, you’re not alone. It’s ok to go into the sanctuary and bask in the love of God and His people (these loving people actually exist, I’ve found some), or you can go into a room by yourself and cry. You can take as much as you need, like I will. And maybe next year, we’ll buy Easter dresses and groceries for family dinner. Maybe we’ll be smiling real smiles.
But for this year, we’ll remember it’s ok to not be ok.