ANZAC Day is an important day, lodged deep in the Australian psyche. It was a day where I don't do much beyond making ANZAC biscuits (cookies). My brothers and the other boy cousins went off to the dawn services with fathers and our grandfather and then go drink beer at the RSL (Retired Serviceman's League) afterward.
It means a lot, not just to remember those who died for their country and ideals and those who made it home. For me personally, it illustrates the utter horrific waste of life.
My grandfather survived WWII, which he never talked about. We never even knew that he'd been to San Diego until he met my then-soon-to-be-husband. I couldn't get home for his funeral, but I wrote something to be read and then I turned it into an art journal page.
He was handsome, eh?
Monday, April 6, 2015
After announcing I was giving up other people’s approval for Lent, you might have noticed I didn’t do much blogging. Much was going on, much processing, and I thought I would unpack all that, but today, just a little bit and a looking ahead.
Yesterday started the 50 Days of Easter. Easter is not just one day, but a season of rejoicing. And it’s more than that too, I’ve come to realize. I think as a child I intuitively knew this because I was that child who hoarded her Easter eggs until May.
But Easter is not about hoarding. It’s not about ekeing out the
chocolate, the love and grace given to us on that day two thousand years ago and every day since.
It's an abundant gift that always is renewing.
I spent Lent giving up people's approval for Lent. There were some spectacular failures in that, but without them, I would not have been open to realizing what comes next.
It was the Maundy Thursday service, and Monica gave a sermon inspired by the Holy Spirit. It was so perfectly paced, I thought for sure it was written down but I found out that it wasn't how she planned it.
She talked about how often we fail to be present to each other. Whether our heads are buried in our phones, or thinking about our extensive to do lists. When I wrote novels, it was the stories that took me away from the present. Even after hearing this sermon, I found myself in times of “not being present”.
And times of being present too, like last night, cross-legged on the kitchen floor with a skunked dog in my lap drying him off after his de-skunking treatment. We had to wait for the treatment to dry, then rinse, then apply carefully by hand again because the skunk had got him square in the eye. Not exactly a speedy process at 10 o’clock at night. And yes, I mourned that I was wearing my favorite t-shirt and jeans, but when you’ve a shivering pup (of 16 years of age), you don’t think about that until it’s too late.
Back to the sermon. Monica spoke of how foot washing was Jesus being incredibly present to his disciples in this humble, awkward, messy act, and she invited us to see each other as we washed and were washed. To get beyond the awkwardness and the giggling and to look into each other’s eyes and acknowledge that we are here in this time together. To say “I see you.” So powerful in a world where we rush and don’t take the time to see anyone but our own reflection.
Now I find the whole foot-washing thing as something I would much rather not do, and I have been known to skip it, even though my husband considers it a sacrament, but Thursday night I took the challenge. I looked up at my companion as I washed her feet and she looked down at me, confessing she always cries when she gets her feet washed.
We switched and as she looked up at me and I at her, she softly started thanking me for being who I am, for all that I do, and it was so beautiful that I was moved to tears also.
There are 50 days to the season of Easter, and my intention is to spend that time being present to others: whether its to my dog who saw a butt being presented to sniff and got a nasty surprise, to the bus driver, the check out clerk, my co-workers and last, but not least, my husband. Sometimes its those you’re most familiar with that you forget to always see.
Being present to others is an abundant gift that requires no fanfare at all, but the tomb is empty and presence is a gift of ourselves and of God to another.
What are you doing for the 50 Days of Easter?
PS. The Life Book 2015 art class I am taking has a theme every month. This month: Honouring the Here and Now. Coincidence, or god-incidence?