One of my favorite parts about our Easter Sunday service is singing the Hallelujah chorus. Anyone from the congregation is invited to spontaneously come forward and join the choir for the quintessential finale of Handel’s “Messiah” while the rest of the congregation stands and soaks it in.
This year, one of the 90 something-year-old cornerstone ladies of the church tripped and fell on her way back to the pew. A physical therapist and nurse practitioner from the crowd ran up to assess her while the kids stood still in their tracks and the rest of the held their breath while simultaneously sending their love and prayers.
A few eternal minutes later, the medical professionals helped Mrs. McCune to her feet and the sanctuary filled with the sound of clapping.
Although I wouldn’t wish a fall for anyone, it was rather fitting to experience a microcosm of the death and resurrection story of Easter in our midst.
To me, this is what faith community is about. We commit to showing up with physical and spiritual support when someone falls down. Then we help each other back up with rejoicing .
The other day started with a ridiculous argument with my wife over medicine cabinet organization. I stomped around furious, cleaning as I tend to do when I am mad (instead of working on some writing I had to do).
When I was calm enough to sink into a spiritual book, I opened it up on my phone and the screen was completely blank. This was followed by an email from work saying that plans had changed in a huge project. My heart sank to my feet as a long awaited endeavor had been seemingly crushed. I reach out to talk to a friend who was unavailable.
All of a sudden other friends started calling and texting to check in on me. A routine call to a parent turned into a cosmic conversation about the gift of surrendering to the perfect universe.
It took a while for my body to wear down enough to stop. Humbly, I crawled into bed still experiencing pain from my surgery. It’s only at that moment that I was ready to go back to surrendering to the healing process and the perfect universe in which I call home.
It is now four weeks after my appendix, ovary and Fallopian tube were removed along with the offending 16cm cyst. My belly is no longer purple and I can do things like drive and shower without pain. Unfortunately, a slow walk to drop off our six year old at school resulted in an emergency stop at a park bench in the middle of my walk and a two hour recovery in bed with lingering pain for the rest of the day.
My physical therapist friend saw me out and texted congratulations for such a feat. I replied with moans and this is what she said, “The middle of recovery it is the hardest to appreciate both how far you have come, and how much your body will continue to heal.”
At this moment I feel as though truer words have yet to be spoken.
Sweat dripped from every single pore of my body as my friend poured more water onto the hot sauna rocks. After leaving the sauna my skin felt smoother than it has in years. This led me to think: maybe this is what our world is doing right now. Maybe all the toxicity coming to the surface to be swept out and washed away. Maybe, just maybe our world will be fresh and bright after a purge of toxins. Right now? We are in the sweating stage.
In the wake of the election, I organize my socks. I spend hours looking for holes in the toes and sorting them by texture, function and color. My wife organizes several hundred people for a march on Washington. We both try to make sense of this new world… organizing on micro and macro levels.