(This was originally written 4 months ago, yet I now have the courage to post it)
Culturally, we love to celebrate and observe things in increments of years. Birthdays, anniversaries, memorials, holidays, observances; they all come and go in a year’s time. There is something within us that marks the passing of time in cycles. Because as much as our lives are linear, they are cyclical. It almost grounds us, helping us to feel as though there is still constancy in the courses our lives take. The seasons come and go each year. Even the Christian calendar has a rhythm.
Yet this year has been one of the most odd passings of time I have ever experienced. Twelve months have passed. Yet somehow I feel like I have fit a lifetime in them. The months, weeks, and days themselves are not longer. But it seems like I have fit 12 years within them.
Yet they have passed, as time does…regardless the pace. For me, they have passed slowly and quickly. They have dragged on and they have flown by.
Why? Because it has been a year of Eucharist.
Betrayed. Broken. Abandoned. Poured out. Defeated.
I remember what happened in my chest when the woman I had promised to love and cherish for the rest of my life, sat me down and said simply, “I do not love you anymore. I am leaving.” She said it like she would say, “We are out of milk.”
And then she left. And she kept leaving. She stayed gone. There is no need to go into any details beyond this, other than to say she made it clear she was gone and in no way wanted to come back.
To feel as though you have no control over a situation is one of the worst in the world. There was nothing I could say. There was nothing I could do. She left.
And I was devastated. The world around me was not immune, either. As these things go, when one person breaks relationships, the ripples extend out farther than we can know. I spent a lot of time just seeing the ripples and grieving over them.
The extent to which I felt grief, pain, sorrow, anger, and fear cannot be overstated.
I grieved. I remember sitting in my room in eerie silence. I wanted to scream out all of these things to God. It was hard to even speak. Often I found myself without words. I even quoted Jesus, somehow the Aramaic felt more intense. Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani. (My God,my God, why have you forsaken me?)
But then, quietly, without fanfare or warning, resurrection happened.
It is curious to me why Jesus did not rise until the third day. I have heard some explanations, but nothing that seems, to me, satisfactory. Only, perhaps, that there was a day for everything.
A day for death.
A day for grief.
And a day for new life.
God began to create something new in and around me in ways I could not imagine; in ways I am still discovering. Songs were written from the desert. I found a renewed passion for people. When I was not seeking it, God brought me a woman who loves me, cares for me, and is passionate about caring for the people around her. She is a gift. Even thinking about this brings tears to my eyes. God is so gracious.
Yet there is this task of Eucharist: the command of Jesus to remember Him and proclaim his death.
Jesus said that when we drink from his cup, we proclaim his death until he comes.
Jesus also asked one of his disciples if he could drink the cup that He was about to drink.
Could it be that the way we proclaim Jesus death until he comes goes beyond drinking grape juice or chewing a stale wafer?
Could it be that we proclaim his death by enduring suffering? That is, entering the cycle of Eucharist. Broken open, poured out. Feeling empty and being filled again.
Could it be that a year (or a life, for that matter) is really three days? Death. Grief. Resurrection.