Where have you been? Where are you going? And why?
If I didn’t have this to post today, I wonder if I would have remembered Easter for another 363 days.
I experienced Easter service at my Friday cancer check up (and I’m cancer free, thank God). In past blogs, I’ve pondered the physical decay that cuts so deeply to those willing to look on the frail faces in the clinic. Today I realized that decay has other forms. An elderly couple sat next to me as I waited to see my doctor. She held the clip board with health survey questions while he sat silently beside her. She wore a pair of glasses that apparently blocked her vision in one eye. While a nurse walked us to see our respective doctors, she recounted all of the recent pains, in three new places, that left her in agony. How long had they been married? Was her battle with cancer terminal? What battle rages in the man’s heart, knowing he may soon lose his soul mate to a disease he did not expect nor understand?
God punctuated the fall from Eden with a response that affects every bit of our physical world. Childbirth pains. Sweat and blood spent toiling to work a job. Tornados and earthquakes. Cars that break down. Toaster ovens that catch fire. Disease and sickness. But at the very heart of the exile?
God walked with Adam and Eve. Adam knew his wife intimately in fullness. The experience of connection flowed as freely as a river, but one capable of flowing in both directions. Then all relationship severed with sin. A friend told me the eye contact I share with my daughters as newborns would be the closest to heaven our relationship will ever experience. Participating in the redemption of relationship remains my only option.
Easter is a celebration of reconnection. Restored relating. Mended relationship. And as I sat before this couple wondering about their foreseeable disconnection, I also sat within eyesight of an Easter bonnet contest. Fourteen pastel colored bonnets rested on a table with a decorated shoe box for ballots. I rolled my eyes when the receptionist asked me to vote for my favorite. As I sat waiting for my doctor, a new appreciation swept over me: Easter is present at Vanderbilt Hospital. I looked for a bare cross amidst the pallid green and yellow eggs without success. There were no hints of an empty tomb. I saw no sign of Peter’s dusty sandals that ran all the way back to town. No snapshots existed of hysteric men and woman in the upper room celebrating in a manner that puts championship locker room parties to shame.
However, amidst fluffy bonnets, painted eggs, and artificial grass, I smiled that Easter, the celebration of Reconnection, was still recognized in a place where death and sickness reign as king and queen. If signs of their rule are death do us part and final goodbyes, Easter sat in the clinic corner like a knight-turned-pauper, stripped of its real Easter message, but present nonetheless, the hope of eternal hellos.