I began Lent with the best of intentions. I made two manageable commitments: to give up Coke for those 40 days and to spend each morning meditating on scripture via sketching some sort of drawing. Cracks started forming as the season progressed but Holy Week took a sledgehammer to my Lenten practice. By Good Friday, I hadn’t done a morning meditation all week and I was walking into Youth Group with a Coke in my hand. I had “failed” Lent.
Serving in a church is one of my absolute favorite things. I love that I get to work with Youth, preach on occasion, and do things like Maundy Thursday worship services. But the preparation for and execution of a three-day stretch of a Maundy Thursday service, Good Friday Stations of the Cross, Good Friday Youth Group, and Good Friday Youth Lock-In on an already exhausted body and spirit hobbled me to the point where I was limping out of Lent. It was all great, but I was shot. On Easter Sunday, I wanted with all my heart to radiate energy for Christ had risen. Christ had risen indeed. I gave it what I had, but stumbled over my words to the point that I had to stop and reset while giving the Words of Institution for Communion.
In a way, weakness is a good way to experience Easter. It is about the wild delight of God sweeping us up and carrying us past death, defeat, and our own destruction. Paul said that God’s power is made perfect in our weakness and I can see what that means. After all, I cannot equal what God has done. As I said on Sunday morning, what we do on Easter—even if it is the most incredible celebration ever—pales in comparison to what an empty tomb means: that The End is not The End and that God, love, justice, and goodness always has the final word. I think I appreciated that more as a completely exhausted youth minister.
Not that I should aim for being completely exhausted nor should failing at Lenten practices be the goal that reminds us that we are regularly falling short (I can remind myself of that enough on my own, thank you very much). The idea of Lenten fasts are sacrifice, not “You’re terrible.” I learned about how I can do some things better next time, about how I really need to get my people-pleasing tendencies in check, how it is okay to ask for help, and how I shouldn’t neglect those times with God no matter how crazy everything gets.
And today, Easter Monday, I’m taking a breath. A deep, cleansing breath. I have been very tempted to stay in my pajamas and alternate my day between playing Zelda and watching Netflix. There wouldn’t be anything wrong with that except I don’t think that would have been very restorative for me today. I went for an easy run. I went out for lunch and journaled. I’m sitting on the back porch at home and writing this. It’s a beautiful day. The sky is bolt blue and the grass a radiant green. It feels like a post-resurrection world in this breath even as I know that tragedies like what happened in Sri Lanka yesterday are reminders that though we are already in an Easter world, we are also not yet there.
In this breath, I’m trying to re-ground myself because the busyness really only stops for this day and I’m lucky that I get this day. I think that’s why I have been writing so much. I am still trying to figure out how to fit getting my thoughts down on paper and screen with my day-to-day existence. Sometimes writing feels like a chore. Sometimes I don’t know what to say. But today it has been renewing; even writing this rambling post and journaling about a tough experience last week (that’ll probably make its way on this blog at some point). I know better than to say that I’m back to writing regularly. Yet it is nice to know that this practice can still be life-giving for me because there have been times when I’ve wondered if that well had dried out.
That is all I have right now. I am going to enjoy this peace for a little longer and try to find some ways to take it with me as things ramp back up.