Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Holy Monday

You don’t always, but on this particular day off you wake up without the alarm (it was turned off, to allow for the richness of sleeping in) at almost exactly the time it would have gone off on a regular school day. The light is lavender, the air saturated with spring. Since you are awake, you sneak downstairs, fill the bread machine with butter, egg, milk, sugar, flour, yeast. You will make Resurrection Rolls a day late. This is becoming a tradition, almost, not managing to get them made in time for Easter. Last year you bought a roll of refrigerated dough, in desperation and even though you hated the compromise, but in the end it did not help. The tube sat in the refrigerator door until two days ago. You are determined to keep your promise this year.

Later Youngest will help wrap dough around marshmallows, and then you will dip each dough ball into melted butter and then roll it in sugar. The sugar and butter will cling to your fingers, salty and sweet. You will lick them once all the rolls are dipped and rolled, no one watching, as if you were still five years old.

Yesterday was good, and you celebrated. But it did not go the way Easter was supposed to go, exactly. In the middle of everything necessary for the day for your family—in the middle of the best clothes, sunrise service, breakfast at church, easter egg hunt, baskets of candy, dinner with family day—there was Youngest’s fall, and a horrid gash in her knee that looked unrepairable, and the E.R., and stitches because it was repairable, after all.

There was a time you were proud of your strength around blood, and your calm in the face of an injury. That, though, was before you had children. Your children’s injuries shake you to the core. It is not so much the blood itself as it is the fact of injury, the fact that you could not stop it, the fact that you could not convince your child after she laid eyes on it that she was not dying. It is not so much the stitches themselves as it is holding—laying on top of—your child while she gets stitches, and, more than that even, the way you absorb the fear and hurt into every cell of your body and try to hold it there, away from your child, even though you know that’s impossible.

Later in the day on this quiet Monday, when she is feeling her woundedness especially deeply, you will show Youngest pictures of Japanese pottery, cracks and breaks filled with gold, stronger and more beautiful for having been broken. Kintsukuroi. Isn’t it beautiful? She cries at the thought, but she also points out her favorite piece. It is exquisite.

Later still in the day you will hide yourself someplace quiet to make paper roses from old scrap paper. It is right to make something beautiful from what is cast-off and unwanted. It makes you dream of making other things. After so many days of looking and seeing and taking in, in the middle of exhaustion and anxiety over things both small and big, making something seems like the proper response. So much inhaling—now is time for the exhale. Without the release you are not actually breathing.

Yesterday was meant to be holy, and it was, in the way that Easter Sunday always is. It was also holy in the way that something broke through all your plans and expectations and made you see it all in a different light. But today too is holy, and maybe even a high holy dayset apart to exhale, set apart to ponder these things while making sweet rolls, while everyone else is asleep.

For now, it is still early and you are alone in the kitchen. In the oven the marshmallows begin to melt, making toffee at the bottom of the pan, leaving the inside of the rolls hollow, empty. You could give a lecture while the kids eat, but that kind of thing doesn’t usually have the effect you’re looking for. You will probably have to rely on faith that the way these things all work together will work itself slowly into their hearts—that this sweetness, and the story of the empty tomb and how light cracked apart solid darkness, and how the intertwining of failings and promises and scars and love leave us marked and beautiful—these are all wrapped into the day after Easter because they are all woven into our Everyday, worn on our hearts and bodies, hanging in the lavender light of another new morning.

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